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Robert Allenby became the first Australian to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge, overcoming defending champion Henrik Stenson at the third hole of a sudden-death playoff.
The pair tied on a four-round total of 11-under-par around the Gary Player Country Club after both men made bogey at the closing hole in regulation play.
On the first extra hole, both players hit the fairway but Allenby missed the green on the left side while the Swede found the putting surface. Stenson two-putted for par comfortably but the Australian made an excellent up-and-down to keep his chances alive.
The second playoff hole saw two more pars but Allenby showed his mettle while playing the 18th for a third extra time. From the fairway he fired in an excellent second shot that ended just feet from the cup. Stenson pushed his approach right and was unable to get down in two. That left Allenby the cushion of two-putts to claim the victory and the $1,200,000 winner's cheque.
"I'm glad that's over," said Allenby. "After bogeying the 72nd I knew I had a second chance with the playoff, and my record in playoffs is pretty good. I did think we were going to be here all night at one stage, but once I saw Henrik hit it out right I knew he had a difficult shot."
Overnight leader Retief Goosen played a disappointing final round of 75 that saw him drop back into fifth place. England's Ross Fisher had a good weekend to end the tournament in a tie for third with Tim Clark of South Africa.
Nedbank Golf Challenge Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa Dec 3-6, purse $4,385,000, par 72
1 Robert Allenby (Aus) 68 70 68 71 277 $1,200,000 2 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 70 68 70 69 277 $600,000 T3 Tim Clark (RSA) 69 72 68 69 278 $350,000 T3 Ross Fisher (Eng) 73 69 66 70 278 $350,000 5 Retief Goosen (RSA) 69 68 67 75 279 $275,000 6 Angel Cabrera (Arg) 71 67 68 75 281 $260,000 7 Nick Watney (USA) 73 73 63 73 282 $250,000 8 Luke Donald (Eng) 72 71 68 72 283 $240,000 9 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 70 72 71 71 284 $230,000 10 Hunter Mahan (USA) 70 71 72 73 286 $220,000 11 Richard Sterne (RSA) 72 75 70 75 292 $210,000 12 Rory McIlroy (NIR) Withdrawn
Note: Player scores in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only
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Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during 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 history section of "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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