Morten Madsen wins South African Open by two for first European title

Morten Orum Madsen at the South African Open
Getty Images
Morten Orum Madsen won the South African Open with a final-round 67 for a 19-under total of 269.
By
Gerald Imray
Associated Press

Series: European Tour

JOHANNESBURG – Morten Orum Madsen won his first European Tour title on Sunday as Charl Schwartzel's challenge collapsed in the final round of the season-opening South African Open. 

Denmark's Madsen finished with a fine 67 for a 19-under total of 269 and a two-shot victory, overtaking Schwartzel (71) and then Hennie Otto (68) as both South Africans paid for two disastrous holes. 

Former Masters champion Schwartzel slumped to a triple-bogey 6 on No. 6 and then a double bogey on No. 10 to lose his overnight lead at his home open – where he's still never won. Otto, the 2011 champion, lost the lead when he went bogey, double bogey on Nos. 15 and 16. 

Madsen kept his cool with five birdies and no bogeys to win the first event on the 2014 Race to Dubai over home players Jbe Kruger (65) and Otto. Schwartzel was tied for fourth on 16 under with Italy's Marco Crespi. 

"I'm so happy," Madsen said at the trophy presentation. "I expected to play well but I didn't expect to stand here ... right now, that's for sure." 

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES: Get a jump on your shopping with our videos and galleries

Madsen's round was superb in its own right as he went around Glendower Golf Club without dropping a shot and finished with three birdies in his last six holes. He had just three bogeys in his final three rounds in Johannesburg to send him on the way to a maiden title. The Dane was ranked No. 244 in the world before the tournament. 

But the destiny of the tournament changed when Schwartzel took a 6 on the short No. 6, losing three shots in a hole and opening the way for former winner Otto to take over at the top of the leaderboard. Otto had collected seven birdies by the time he got to No. 15 but dropped three shots over the next two holes to let in Madsen. 

The 25-year-old from Denmark seized his chance, closing with a pair of birdies and a pair of pars to stay two clear. 

Kruger carded a 7-under 65 for a share of second with Otto, while another South African, Trevor Fisher Jr., shot 64 to climb into a tie for seventh. 

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen finished with a level-par 72 to tie for 22nd as he continued his return from back surgery last year.