England's Lee Westwood returns to winners' circle with #NGC triumph
SUN CITY – Lee Westwood produced a stunning closing 64 to win his first Rolex Series title at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City on Sunday.
The Englishman entered the final day three shots behind long-time leader Sergio Garcia of Spain, but an eagle on the second put him at the top of the leaderboard and set up an enthralling three-way battle between those two and local favourite Louis Oostuizen.
The heavyweight trio went blow-for-blow on one the most entertaining afternoons of the season and it was former world number-one Westwood who birdied five of his last eight holes to get to 15-under and prevail over his Major Championship winning rivals.
Garcia signed for a 70 to finish at 12-under, one shot ahead of Oosthuizen who closed with a 69.
England's Ross Fisher was then at eight-under, a shot clear of countryman Matt Wallace and China's Li Haotong.
Li needed a win to keep his hopes of winning the Race to Dubai alive, but results in Sun City mean that it will be either Francesco Molinari or Tommy Fleetwood who will be crowned Europe's Number One after next week's season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Westwood's triumph is his third at Gary Player Country Club after the Sunshine Tour's Dimension Data Pro-Am in 2000 and this event in 2010 and 2011 before it joined the European Tour International Schedule.
The 45-year-old's last victory came at the 2014 Maybank Malaysian Open and he was fighting back the tears after taking his tally to a remarkable 24 on the European Tour and 43 worldwide.
“I'm a bit emotional, to be honest,” he said. “You're never sure whether you're going to be able to do it again.
“Until now my emotions have felt really under control all day which is what I've been working hard on. I was just trying to hit fairways and stick to my game-plan and hit it in the right places.
“I've got a bit of a process that I'm going through with my golf swing and I'm starting to see better shots. The seven iron into 17 is probably one of the best shots I've ever hit.”