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Golf stars in South Africa
by Rajesh D’silva February 01, 2013
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World class golfers overcame gusty winds and unexpected showers to stage a thrilling climax in the closely fought contest of the 2013 Volvo Golf Champions, which went right to the wire on Jan.13 at the Durban Country Club in South Africa.

Seven Major winners competed in the top class event including current Open Champion and hugely popular South African Ernie Els, as well as two of his fellow countrymen, Louis Oosthuizen, and double winner of the US Open, Retief Goosen.

Charismatic Ryder Cup-winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal, former Open Champions Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke, and 3-time Major winner Padraig Harrington completed the stellar group. There were are also many other well-known names such as Italians Matteo Manassero and Francesco Molinari, Swedes Peter Hanson and Henrik Stenson, Belgian Nicolas Colaserts and the host nation’s Darren Fichardt and Jbe Kruger.

The beautiful course at Durban Country Club dates back to 1922 and is featured in the Top 100 in the world. With its undulating fairways and raised greens, and with plenty of risk-reward opportunities, it offered a perfect balance of challenge and opportunity.

Overnight leader Scott Jamieson began the day with a 5-shot cushion and got off to the perfect start on the last day as he birdied holes three and four.

However, a crooked tee-shot on the next meant a return to the tee and led to an ugly double-bogey six.

Louis Oosthuizen went about his business in imperious form notching up four birdies on the front nine and another at the tenth.

All this means that Oosthuizen’s final round of 66 made him the winner of the 2013 Volvo Golf Champions at 16 under par, one shot ahead of Scott Jamieson and two ahead of Thongchai Jaidee.

The winner’s cheque for Euro 350,000 catapaulted Oosthuizen straight into the second spot in 2013 Race to Dubai whilst Jamieson had to be consoled with the runner’s-up prize of just over Euro 225,000 that kept him in pole position.

Playing with the Pros

The unique and unbeatable proposition of “Playing With The Pros” came true at Durban Country Club for Dubai’s Hee Sun Kim and Carl James Downham, the leading seventeen finalists from the 2012 Volvo World Golf Challenge as they enjoyed the golfing experience of a lifetime.

The Amateur-Pro Team Competition saw the best placed amateurs from the World Final forming a three-person team with two star Professionals from the European Tour for the day.

UK finalist Colin Ledwith, emerged the winner, who played off a handicap of two, in the company of world number 6, Louis Oosthuizen, and overnight leader Thongchai Jaidee from Thailand.

The South African hit into an awkward spot in a greenside bunker from which he could only escape to 35 feet, while the amateur left his approach a little shorter than he would have liked.

“I walked around to the guys and said, listen, boys, we need one of these two to go in and was fortunate enough to make the long one and then Colin made one as well,” said Oosthuizen after the game.

Following this most dramatic of finishes, Ledwith said, “This is absolutely brilliant. It’s been one of the best days of my life. They’re both really nice guys.”

His highlight of the day was “Everything!, and when asked about how Playing With The Pros rates alongside any other golfing possibility, he said quite simply, “No comparison!”

The delight and emotion of taking part was summed up by fellow competitor Carl Downham from the UAE who described it as, “Magnificent, excellent, awesome. I’m speechless, it’s fantastic, the whole experience has been amazing! Thank you very much Volvo!” There is no doubt that each and every one of the seventeen amateur qualifiers from the World Final of the Volvo World Golf Challenge now has many new and wonderful memories that will live forever.

Dubai’s Hee Sun Kim too was pleased with her win as she was the only lady competitor in the event. “I looked miserably with the pros, they were very good,” said Kim.

The Al Badia Golf Club member who has been playing for the past two years clinched the fourth spot while Omar Hariri of Saudi Arabia grabbed the second spot.

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