PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – If it weren’t for a disastrous two-hole finish, rookie Daniel Greene would have walked away with his maiden Sunshine Tour victory Friday at the Vodacom Business Origins of Golf event at Humewood Golf Club.
Instead, veteran Ulrich van den Berg took advantage of Greene’s double bogeys on Nos. 17-18 to squeak by and win at 14-under 202.
1 Ulrich van den Berg 202
2 Daniel Greene 203
3 Doug McGuigan 205
4= Dion Fourie 206
4= Alan Michell 206
4= Jean Hugo 206
7= Kevin Stone 207
7= Jaco Van Zyl 207
It was Greene’s tournament to lose after going into the final third round with a three-stroke lead.
Greene (76–203) put his approach shot at the par-5 17th in the bunker. His pitch-out left him 40 feet from the hole. He three-putted for a 7 – and his two-stroke lead evaporated as Van den Berg parred the hole.
“I feel a bit sad for Daniel,” Van den Berg said, “because I have been in that situation before, and it really makes you feel empty. But I’m sure he will be in this position again, and he’ll win.”
After Van den Berg missed a three-footer for par on 18, Greene still had a chance to salvage his round but his four-footer slid past the hole to miss out on a playoff by one.
“It would have been nice to have seen (my) putt go in and I could have won it rather than Daniel lose it,” Van den Berg said.
For Van den Berg, who won 80,835 rand (US$11,100), it’s been a tough two years. He and his wife lost a baby, his father to cancer and his European Tour card.
“This year, my motivation’s been up,” he said. “I’ve been practicing hard and I’ve been able to start breathing again, and that makes a big difference emotionally.
“I was able to get out there and fight when things were a little tough.”
Van den Berg’s last victory came in 2007 at Vodacom series’ Bloemfontein event.