By Fergus Bisset published
South Africa's Darren Fichardt battled through high winds to win the Saint-Omer Open presented by Neuflize OBC by three shots from Gary Lockerbie of England.
Fichardt started the day five clear of the field and he did just enough to hold on. He closed with a two-over-par 73 and, given the conditions, it wasn't surprising that nobody was able to threaten him at the top of the board.
"It wasn't pretty today," said Fichardt. "I was absolutely terrified and glad we didn't have to play any more holes."
The South African's lead was reduced to two shots after just three holes as he made bogey at the 3rd while Simon Wakefield birdied. But the Englishman double bogeyed the fifth and fell away with four bogeys on the run for home. He finished alone in third.
In the end it was Wakefield's countryman Gary Lockerbie who proved to be Fichardt's nearest challenger. He made back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, en-route to an excellent closing 69. He finished one clear of Wakefield and three back of Fichardt.
For the South African it was a third European Tour victory and one that means he will have European Tour playing privileges in 2013.
"The exemption for next season is very welcome," he said. "I'm just glad I got the job done."
It was a good week for English players - After Lockerbie in second and Wakefield in third, Charlie Ford and Adam Gee were tied for fourth while James Heath finished in a tie for eighth.
Saint-Omer presented by Neuflize OBC Aa Saint Omer GC, Lumbres, France 14-17 June, purse €500,000, par 71 1 Darren Fichardt (RSA) 68 69 69 73 279 €83,330 2 Gary Lockerbie (Eng) 69 75 69 69 282 €55,550 3 Simon Wakefield (Eng) 67 72 72 72 283 €31,300 T4 Charlie Ford (Eng) 74 69 73 70 286 €19,675 T4 Adam Gee (Eng) 67 72 75 72 286 €19,675 T4 Pelle Edberg (Swe) 70 72 72 72 286 €19,675 T4 Wil Besseling (Ned) 71 69 73 73 286 €19,675 T8 Bjorn Akesson (Swe) 75 72 70 70 287 €11,230 T8 Magnus Carlsson (Swe) 73 72 71 71 287 €11,230 T8 James Heath (Eng) 71 70 74 72 287 €11,230
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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