Van Tonder birdie seals South African Open

Danie van Tonder has won the South African Open in Sun City with a birdie at the last hole.
Danie van Tonder has won the South African Open in Sun City with a birdie at the last hole.

Daniel van Tonder has sunk a birdie putt on the last hole to win the South African Open as he held off a late charge from home compatriot Oliver Bekker.

The 30-year-old van Tonder made eight birdies in a final round 65 to finish 16-under par with a total of 272, one shot ahead of Bekker.

Bekker, the halfway leader at the Gary Player Country Club, finished with a round of 66, fighting back into contention over the closing holes before Van Tonder's victory putt on the 18th ended his hopes of a playoff.

Three birdies in his final three holes secured third place for Hennie du Plessis who ended on 12 under.

The tournament was stripped of its status as a European Tour event last week with the discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the subsequent travel ban on the region, which led to the mass withdrawal of foreign players.

The South African Open, hosted at Sun City this year, is among the oldest of all open golf championships.

First played in 1903, it is the highlight of the Southern Africa-based Sunshine Tour and has been co-sanctioned by the European Tour since 1997.

Australian Associated Press