Published November 18, 2012
| Sports Network
Ekurhuleni, South Africa – Henrik Stenson shot 1-under-par 71 on Sunday to earn a 3-stroke victory at the SA Open Championship.
Stenson led for the final three rounds at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate and finished at 17-under 271 to end the longest winless drought of his European Tour career. It is the seventh career win on the tour for the Swede, whose last victory came over five years ago at the 2007 WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship.
"I played well to shoot 17-under-par around here in these windy conditions," said Stenson. "It was playing a lot harder today."
George Coetzee, coming off Saturday's course-record 63, also shot 71 to finish in second place at 14-under, while Ryder Cup standout Martin Kaymer (67) and Thomas Aiken (67) ended in a tie for third at 13-under.
Last year's Master's champion Charl Schwartzel ended alone in fifth at 11- under, followed by Tommy Fleetwood, Darren Fichardt and Magnus Carlsson, who tied for sixth at 9-under.
Defending champion Hennie Otto was never truly in the running for a repeat, but he did manage to break Coetzee's course record from a day prior with a final-round 62 to finish at 8-under for the tournament.
Stenson was even on his final round before pushing his tee shot on No. 9 into the water. He ended with a double-bogey on that hole, but recovered on his outward nine with three birdies, including a back-to-back showing on Nos. 16 and 17, to wrap up the win.
With the victory, Stenson secured his place in next week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The 36-year-old entered the SA Open ranked 59th in the Race to Dubai standings and only the top 60 make next week's field.
"It was great that I came down here," he said. "One of the bigger reasons was I was 59th in the Race to Dubai standings and I needed a good week."
Fleetwood's strong finish also proved pivotal, as it vaulted the 21-year-old Englishman into the top 119 in the Order of Merit and earned him a full European Tour card for 2013.
"It feels better than a win pretty much," said Fleetwood, who needed to finish in the top 27 at this event to earn the card. "It was probably the most stressful four days of my life I think. But I played great today."
NOTES: Stenson played 94 European Tour events between victories ... This tournament dates back to 1893, albeit as an exhibition. Next to the British Open, this is the oldest national championship ... Last year, Otto beat Bernd Wiesberger by a single stroke.