Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Sunday, 11 February 2024 18:45

Lindberg holds his nerve in playoff to win Bain's Whisky Cape Town Open.

By Michael Vlismas.

Sweden's Mikael Lindberg holed a magnificent birdie putt on the second playoff hole to beat South Africa's Ryan van Velzen and win the Bain's Whisky Cape Town Open at the Royal Cape Golf Club on Sunday.

In a tightly-contested final round, Lindberg birdied holes 16 and 17 to take a one-stroke lead over Van Velzen playing the last. But the Swede three-putted the final green for a bogey to slip into a playoff on 16 under par with a final round of 67. Van Velzen closed with a bogey-free 66.

Both golfers parred the par-four 18th as the first playoff hole. Then playing it again, Lindberg had a similar putt from where he'd three-putted in regulation play, and this time he made no mistake as he holed it.

"It was a rollercoaster day but it was a very good day, "said Lindberg.

It was a fitting end to a tournament that always seemed destined to go down to the wire, with 10 players sharing the lead after the second round and Lindberg one shot clear of a group of seven players going into Sunday's final round.

In perfect conditions several players made an early run at the lead, including Van Velzen who made two birdies and an eagle in three holes on the front nine. JC Ritchie came with a charge of his own as he made three birdies in his opening four holes. And Louis Albertse birdied the 16th to put him just one shot out of the playoff as he went on to finish third on 15 under with a final round of 67.

But it was Lindberg’s early birdies on the back nine at holes 11 and 12 and then the key birdies on 16 and 17 that allowed him the leeway for his bogey on the last.

"I saw a couple of players made an early move and were playing well out there. The putt on 17 was huge for me. Then as I was walking up to the 18th green I just kept telling myself to just two-putt for the win. But my first putt was probably the worst putt I hit all week – I barely hit the ball. In the playoff I had it in the back of my mind that I’d just three-putted this same putt, so it was a huge relief when it went in."

Lindberg is the second Swede to win the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open following countryman Anton Karlsson in 2020, and he was delighted to do so as he paid tribute to a wonderful week in the City of Cape Town.

"I love Cape Town. I love the whole culture here and always enjoy my time here. To win here is really special."