England’s Ross Fisher claimed his first victory in almost four years when he won the Tshwane Open by three strokes at The Els Club Copperleaf on Sunday.
Fisher took a five-stroke lead into a final round that was played in almost constant rain, and withstood a strong charge from Michael Hoey to close with a 70 and win on 20 under par.
It’s his first win on the European Tour since 2010 and ends a slump in the career of a man who was once ranked as high as 17 in the world, and who has now started the process to get back there with a win that lifts him into the top 65 in the world.
“It feels great. It wasn’t quite the spectacular golf I was hoping for, but obviously I saw the weather wasn’t going to be too kind to us all day. It was just a tough day,” said Fisher.
Hoey made the biggest run at Fisher’s lead, but the Irishman’s charge was halted by his double bogey on the par-four 12th when he found the water. He closed with a 68.
Fisher then made his own breakthrough when he eagled the par-five 15th to surge four ahead of the field.
“Michael was close to catching me. When he hit it in the water on 12 that was a little bit of a breather for me. Then the eagle on 15 was a massive turning point,” he said of the 20-foot putt he rolled in on 15.
“That was the biggest moment. I hit a really good drive, and then a nice hybrid into the green. I knew the putt would break left to right, and to see it drop and I had a four-shot lead with three to play, I knew I could coast home.”
It afforded him a bogey at the last that Fisher wasn’t too concerned about.
“It would’ve been nice to finish in style on the last but I’m not going to complain about finishing on 20 under par and winning a tournament for the first time in four years. It’s been coming for some time, but the putting has just let me down a bit. This week I holed more putts than I have for a very long time. I’m excited for the rest of the year.”
Hoey took second place on 17 under alongside South Africa’s Danie van Tonder, who closed with a bogey-free 66.