Paisley breaks through with a little spousal support at European Tour’s BMW SA Open

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 14: Chris Paisley of England kisses caddie and wife Keri with the trophy after his victory during day four of the BMW South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 14, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) Warren Little/Getty Images

Paisley breaks through with a little spousal support at European Tour’s BMW SA Open

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Paisley breaks through with a little spousal support at European Tour’s BMW SA Open

Chris Paisley might call on wife Keri to caddie for him more often. Her presence on his bag for the BMW SA Open earned the 31-year-old his first European Tour win at Glendower Golf Course in City of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa.

The former University of Tennessee player held off home favorite Branden Grace to become the third English winner of the SA Open in the past four years, following Andy Sullivan in 2015 and Graeme Storm last year. Grace was the highest-ranked player in the field at World No. 30. He also had eight more wins under his belt than Paisley, who started the week at No. 289 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

With the home fans cheering on Grace, Paisley exceeded his expectations to land his first European Tour win in his 118th start with a closing 6-under 66 against Grace’s 68 to win by three with a 21-under 267.

“I’m just so happy with how the week went and to get the win, for not only myself and Keri but for everyone that’s stood behind me,” Paisley said. “It’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe it. Going head-to-head against Branden, in his home country with pretty much everyone in the crowd on his side, was tough.

“I played out of my skin. I didn’t even think I was capable of playing that well, to be honest.”

Keri took on the caddie duties when Paisley’s regular caddie, Sean Russell, took a week’s vacation.

“My regular caddie is getting some stick, but I just can’t say enough about how good of a job she has done this week and just in life in general,” Paisley said. “She doesn’t know that much about golf, but she knows me really well and she knows when I’m going a little quicker than I usually do or getting a bit tight.

“Coming up the last fairway with her next to me was just incredible.”

Grace overcame Paisley’s overnight lead with a birdie-eagle start to go ahead by one shot, but Paisley refused to get flustered.

“I actually just looked over at Keri and just kind of laughed,” he said. “I started par-birdie, which I was really happy with, but he went birdie-eagle so, I mean there’s obviously a long way to go after that – still 16 holes – so I knew I just had to keep plugging away and hope for the best.”

His best was good enough. Gwk

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