Hansen clinches first European Tour win with back-nine surge
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Johannesburg (AFP) –
Dane Joachim B. Hansen recovered from trailing South African Wilco Nienaber by three strokes with nine holes remaining to win the Joburg Open Sunday and end a 10-year wait for his maiden European Tour title.
Rock-solid Hansen did not drop a shot in the final round and parred the final two holes at Randpark Golf Club in suburban Johannesburg while Nienaber bogeyed both, giving the Dane a two-shot victory.
Hansen shot a four-under-par final round of 67 for a 265 total while Nienaber, who won rave reviews since Thursday for his remarkable long drives, finished with a 70 and a 267 total.
South African Shaun Norris carded a 66 for 268 and third place in the first of three tournaments on the South African swing of the European Tour.
Hansen battled to hold back the tears after his triumph, saying it was "a struggle keeping up with the long-hitting Wilco", who struck a 439-yard (401.5-metre) tee shot during the opening round.
"I am very emotional after winning my first European Tour competition, but this is why we play every week all over the world and endure good times and bad.
"Putting played a key part in my victory. I holed just about every one inside six feet this week, and a few further away from the pin.
"It was also important that I did not try to emulate the incredible length of Wilco off the tee, but stick to my own game plan instead."
Success for Hansen came after a topsy-turvy October for him in which he missed the cut at the Scottish Open, then improved dramatically to share seventh at the BMW Championship a week later.
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