Domaine de Bel Ombre, Mauritius (SportsNetwork.com) - George Coetzee birdied the second playoff hole Sunday to defeat Thorbjorn Olesen and win the inaugural Mauritius Open.
Coetzee birdied the final hole of regulation for a 2-under 69. Olesen closed with a 3-under 68 to end at 12-under-par 271.
The duo returned to the par-5 18th at Heritage Golf Club for the first extra hole. Both players reached the green in two and 2-putted for birdie. Coetzee nearly won it there as his eagle effort stopped inches short of the hole.
They headed back to the 18th tee again. Olesen found sand off the tee and was forced to lay up. He played his third to 20 feet, but Coetzee was inside him in two.
After Olesen missed his birdie effort, Coetzee 2-putted from 15 feet out for birdie and the victory. This was his second title of the season on the European Tour, and third of his career.
"I actually felt more nervous during the day than the playoff and I'm happy to have pulled through it. Thorbjorn did unbelievably well to put pressure on me the whole day," Coetzee said. "I actually had to work to catch him in the end. I would have loved to have won it on the first playoff hole with an eagle and do it in style, but I'm obviously happy just to have won."
Mardan Mamat posted a 4-under 67 to take third place at minus-12. Thomas Aiken managed a 1-under 70 and ended alone in fourth at 11-under-par 273.
Scott Hend, John Parry and Masahiro Kawamura were three of the five players to shoot 5-under 66, which was the low round of the day Sunday. Hend, Parry and Kawamura shared fifth place at 10-under 274.
Coetzee, who led by one entering the round, pulled away from the field early as he poured in three birdies in a 4-hole stretch from the second. That burst moved him to 14-under, four strokes clear of Olesen.
Olesen bogeyed the first for the fourth straight round, then parred his next three holes. He poured in three consecutive birdies from the fifth to move to 12-under.
Coetzee, who was the highest-ranked player in the field at world No. 63, knocked his drive out of bounds at the seventh and that led to a bogey, which dropped him back to minus-13. He ran off eight pars in a row from the eighth.
Olesen made a 10-foot birdie putt on the ninth to join Coetzee in the lead. However, Olesen gave that shot right back as he tripped to a bogey on the 10th. He parred six straight holes from the 11th to set up the dramatic finish.
Coetzee stumbled to a bogey on the 16th to fall into a share of the lead at minus-12. Olesen, in the penultimate group, converted a 6-foot birdie putt at 17 to move one clear. He parred the last though to open the door for Coetzee.
"It's disappointing, of course, when you are in a playoff and you don't win. It's difficult to play that 18th with a 3-wood, but I've been hitting my driver pretty badly so I had to," said Olesen, who missed the last three months due to hand surgery.
"George hit some great shots there in the playoff to get two birdies. I didn't expect this before the tournament, so to be in a playoff is unbelievable when I haven't been in a tournament for three months."
Coetzee parred the 17th, but 2-putted for birdie at the 18th to force the playoff.
NOTES: Coetzee's first two wins were in his native South Africa ... Coetzee, who became the fifth multiple winner this season, earned 166,660 euros for the victory ... The European Tour heads to Spain next week for the Open de Espana, where local favorite Miguel Angel Jimenez was a playoff winner last year.