Bezuidenhout gets a windfall of R19 million


It was a golden Sunday for South African sport: first Dricus du Plessis in the UFC, then Bafana Bafana who reigned supreme in the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament against Namibia and late on Sunday evening Christiaan Bezuidenhout who made the country proud on the golf course.

At the La Quinta Country Club in California, Bezuidenhout delivered one of the best performances of his career when he finished just one shot behind American amateur Nick Dunlap in the American Express tournament.

Bezuidenhout scored 65 shots in the final round and was only one shot behind Dunlap in the clubhouse on 260 shots (-28).

Dunlap, a 19-year-old sophomore studying at the University of Alabama, rewrote the record books when he became the first amateur in 33 years to win a tournament in the American PGA Series. The last player to do so was Phil Mickelson, who won the Tucson Open in 1991 as a 21-year-old amateur.

Last year at Cherry Hills, Dunlap became only the second player after Tiger Woods to win the US Junior tournament and the US Amateur title in the same year.

Dunlap recorded scores of 64 65 60 and 70 strokes, while Bezuidenhout recorded 63 67 65 and 65 in his four rounds.

It was a wonderful windfall for Bezuidenhout, because Dunlap (as an amateur) could not win the first prize money. This meant that Bezuidenhout could deposit $1,512,000 (about R19 million) into his bank account.

The Americans Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas, as well as Chun-An Ju from China were together third at 261 (-27), with the Americans Sam Burns and Michael Kim together sixth at 263 (-25).

Another South African, Erik van Rooyen, finished joint 25th on 269 shots (-19).

* In the US LPGA Series Tournament of Champions played at Lake Nona in Florida, New Zealander Lydia Ko shot 70 in the fourth and final round to win the tournament by two shots.

Ko finished at 274 (-14), two strokes ahead of America’s Alexa Pano, who finished at 276 (-12).

It was Ko’s 20th LPGA title.

The Canadian Brooke Henderson was third (278), followed by the Americans Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight, as well as Ayaka Furue from Japan who all finished together at 281.

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai (289) and Paula Reto (291) also performed decently.

* In the DP World Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic, which was concluded at the Emirates Country Club, the Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy won the tournament for the fourth time.

McIlroy finished one stroke ahead of Adrian Meronk (Poland) on 274 (-14), with American Cameron Young third on 276 (-12).

South Africa’s Zander Lombard finished on 283 strokes (-5), followed by Jayden Schaper (287), Dylan Frittelli and Casey Jarvis (both 288), Hennie du Plessis (289) and Louis de Jager (290).

  • Additional source: The Golf Channel