Andy Sullivan wins South African Open for first European Tour title

Andy Sullivan celebrates his South African Open triumph
Sullivan dropped only one shot in the final round, having dropped five in his first nine holes in round three
South African Open final leaderboard
-11 A Sullivan (Eng), C Schwartzel (SA) (Sullivan won at first extra hole); -10 L Slattery (Eng); -9 P Martin Benavides (Sp); Selected others -7 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -3 E Els (SA); +4 P Lawrie (Sco)

Englishman Andy Sullivan captured his first European Tour title with a play-off victory at the South African Open after a collapse by Charl Schwartzel.

South African Schwarztel, the 2011 Masters champion, began the final round with a five-stroke lead and was still four ahead with five holes left.

But he dropped four shots in a 74 for an 11-under-par total, matched by Sullivan, who carded a five-under 67.

As the players returned to the 18th for a play-off, Sullivan won with a birdie.

The Englishman had been one shot clear at the halfway stage of the tournament but bogeyed the first four holes on his way to a third-round 74 and started the final day seven shots off the lead.

However, Schwartzel, chasing his maiden home championship, failed to get up and down from a plugged lie in a greenside bunker on the 14th.

He then three-putted the 16th en route to a double-bogey six, before an errant tee shot on the 17th led to another dropped shot.

Andy Sullivan's victory
First European Tour title in 84th tournament
Only second Englishman to win SA Open, after Tommy Horton (1970)
Gains a European Tour exemption until the end of 2016
The 356th European Tour victory by a former Challenge Tour player
The 291st English victory in European Tour history, 91st Englishman to win

Sullivan holed his second shot for an eagle at the 407-yard 12th and also rolled in four birdies at the Glendower Golf Club in Johannesburg.

The 28-year-old from Nuneaton perhaps thought his chance had gone when he left a long birdie putt on the 18th a few inches short.

But after both players missed the fairway in the play-off, Sullivan produced a superb escape from the trees and holed from 12 feet for a birdie to seal his first win as a professional.

"It's unbelievable," Sullivan said. "After Saturday I didn't think I stood much of a chance with Charl getting ahead that far.

"I didn't want to give him a second chance to take the title away from me so I am delighted and I hope the guys at Nuneaton Golf Club are having a few beers for me.

"To just play on The European Tour is something I've wanted to do my whole life, so to win an event just caps it all off and to do it in South Africa where I have always enjoyed playing, it has just been an incredible week."

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