Schwartzel wins Africa Open by one shot

Charl Schwartzel plays his tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the Africa Open.

Charl Schwartzel plays his tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the Africa Open.

EAST LONDON, South Africa – Charl Schwartzel won the Africa Open by one shot over countryman Thomas Aiken despite bogeying the final hole on Sunday.

Schwartzel had a 6-under 67 to finish at 20-under 272 at the East London Golf Club in the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour.

It was Schwartzel’s fourth European Tour win after a run of good form that finally produced a victory.

“I really just needed a little bit of luck,” he said. “I have been playing well, and when I shot 70 on Friday, I had no luck at all. Who knows what that round could have been.”

Aiken led going into the final round with Trevor Fisher Jr., and was left regretting a double-bogey 6 on the 331-yard fifth.

That let Schwartzel open up a lead he never relinquished. He had a three-stroke advantage on the 16th and then had to wait things out as Aiken made a birdie on 15 to get within two shots.

There were a few minutes when Schwartzel thought Aiken had birdied 17 to draw even, but the leaderboard had it wrong while the eventual champion looked on from the scorer’s booth.

In the end, Aiken just missed a 15-foot birdie attempt that would have forced a playoff.

Jbe’ Kruger shot a 70 to finish third at 274, and Fisher had a 72 to fall into a tie for fourth another shot back with Rick Kulacz, James Morrison and Chris Swanepoel.

Branden Grace had the best round of the day, a 66 that included three eagles. He finished in a five-way tie for eighth.

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