Dubai: Joachim B Hansen secured his spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after claiming a maiden European Tour title with an impressive bogey-free round of 67 on the final day of the Joburg Open.
The Dane started the final day a shot behind home favourite Wilco Nienaber which quickly grew to three after the South African made the turn in 32. But Hansen showed his composure on the back nine with birdies at the 10th, 12th and 14th to fight his way back to the top of the leaderboard before a bogey-bogey finish from Nienaber saw Hansen win by two at Randpark Golf Club.
“It’s quite emotional, this is what we work for,” said Hansen, who jumped up 59 places to 43rd in the Race to Dubai.
“Wilco got in front quite quickly, by three shots, and we managed to stick to our game and our plan. He’s long, he’s got some good things with his game hitting it very far and very straight so we knew we had to go out and do the things we did the first three days. We succeeded pretty well today.”
Nienaber, who leads the European Tour in distance off the tee at an average of 337 yards, came just short of a first professional win but his runner-up finish edged him closer to making his DP World Tour Championship debut in two weeks. The 20 year old picked up 222 points to jump up 46 places to 62nd in the Race to Dubai, with the top 60 available players on the Rankings qualifying for the final Rolex Series event of the season along with the top 75 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Race to Dubai rankings
1 Patrick Reed, USA, 2427.7
2 Tommy Fleetwood, ENG, 1967.7
3 Collin Morikawa, USA, 1881.7
4 Lee Westwood, ENG, 1793.0
5 Victor Perez, FRA, 1713.9
6 Aaron Rai, ENG, 1678.8
7 Louis Oosthuizen, RSA, 1646.2
8 Tyrrell Hatton, ENG, 1453.0
9 Lucas Herbert, AUS, 1332.4
10 Paul Casey, ENG, 1248.8
Nienbar’s compatriot, Shaun Norris, is also seeking a maiden outing on Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course for the DP World Tour Championship and he put himself in contention of qualifying after finishing in third place. The two-time Sunshine Tour winner climbed up to 64th from 86th in Rankings after securing 125 Race to Dubai points.
Meanwhile, Brandon Stone finished six strokes off the lead in a share of fourth to move up six places to 32nd in the Rankings after securing 84.66 points.
The DP World Tour Championship is the fourth and final Rolex Series event of the reshaped 2020 Race to Dubai, following on from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Scottish Open and PGA Championship. The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai has hosted the season-ending event every year since 2009. This year, Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Fire Course will also host the Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World, which takes place the week before the season finale.
Attendance at both events will be for invited guests only. Golf fans can follow the action on the Dubai Sports channel in the UAE or by tuning into their local network as well as staying up to date with all of the action at www.europeantour.com.