Sun City, South Africa – It was a struggle in the final round Sunday, but Lee Westwood managed to repeat as champion at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
The Englishman closed with a one-over 73 to finish at 15-under-par 273. He entered the final round with a seven-stroke lead, but ended just two clear of Robert Karlsson and became the first repeat champion since Jim Furyk won in 2005-06.
"I've been coming here a long time, this is the ninth time, and it's special every time I come," Westwood said. "I love playing this course and yesterday was probably the best round I've ever played. It set me up to play conservatively today. It's very satisfying. To get invited back here and win back-to-back titles is a bit special."
Karlsson closed with a four-under 68, his fourth straight round in the 60s. He ended at minus-13 for his best finish at this event in three tries.
Kyung-tae Kim shot two-under 70 for the fourth straight round to end alone in fifth at minus-eight. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel shot 72 to grab sixth at six-under-par 282, while world No. 1 Luke Donald took seventh at minus-five after a final-round 72.
Armed with a seven-stroke lead, Westwood had a steady start with five consecutive pars. McDowell made a move to get within four, but Westwood birdied the sixth for the first time all week, then two-putted for birdie on the ninth to make the turn at 18-under.
Westwood played the par-five ninth in five-under par for the week with three birdies and an eagle.
After a pair of pars to start his final nine, Westwood tripped to a bogey on the 12th after missing the green to the right with his tee shot.
Westwood steadied himself with four pars in a row from No. 13. He created a little drama at the end as he bogeyed the final two holes to trim his winning margin to two strokes.
Karlsson, who finished third in 2008, bogeyed the first, but rebounded with three birdies in the next four holes. After dropping a shot at eight, he birdied the ninth to turn at 11-under.
The 42-year-old Swede birdied 14 and 15 to close within four of Westwood. However, Karlsson bogeyed the 16th to kill his momentum. He did atone for that mistake with a birdie on 17, but he could only get up and down for par at the last to end two back.
NOTES: Westwood played the four par-fives at 12-under par for the week with 10 birdies and an eagle...The only two players from this field that won't play next week at the Dubai World Championship are Dufner and Kim, neither of whom is a European Tour member...If Donald can keep his lead in the Order of Merit, he'll become the first player ever to top the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in the same season.