Fleetwood completes dramatic title defence at Sun City


Tommy Fleetwood posted a final-round 67 to finish a shot clear of Ryan Fox, with Shubhankar Sharma two strokes back in third ahead of Richie Ramsay; Fleetwood’s victory is his sixth DP World Tour title and second at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

By Ali Stafford

Last Updated: 13/11/22 4:06pm

Tommy Fleetwood claimed a one-shot victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge Tommy Fleetwood claimed a one-shot victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Tommy Fleetwood claimed a one-shot victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Tommy Fleetwood ended a three-year winless run on the DP World Tour by completing a dramatic title defence at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

Fleetwood overturned a three-stroke deficit during a marathon Sunday at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, where the final round was halted for over three hours due to thunderstorms, mixing an eagle and four birdies with a lone bogey to card a five-under 66.

The Englishman ended the week on 11 under and a shot clear of playing partner Ryan Fox, who bogeyed the final hole to miss out on the chance to leapfrog Rory McIlroy at the top of the season-long DP World Tour rankings.

Fleetwood’s victory gave him his sixth DP World Tour title and first since winning the same event in 2019, with the past two editions cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while his success lifts him to fourth in the DP World Tour standings heading into the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

“It has been a great week,” Fleetwood said. “I already had so many amazing memories with this place and felt like I had such a great connection to it, so this [win] just added to that.”

Tommy Fleetwood reflects on his victory at the Nedbank Challenge

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Tommy Fleetwood reflects on his victory at the Nedbank Challenge

Tommy Fleetwood reflects on his victory at the Nedbank Challenge

How Fleetwood completed his title defence

Fleetwood made his early move by taking advantage of the par-five second and posting back-to-back gains from the fifth, lifting him alongside overnight co-leader Rasmus Hojgaard on 10 under, while Fox fired four consecutive birdies from the seventh shortly after the weather delay.

Shubhankar Sharma carded a front-nine 32 and started his back nine with a birdie before dropping a shot at the next, while Fleetwood responded to missing an eight-footer to save par at the 12th by chipping in from the dirt for eagle at the par-five 14th.

Fleetwood and Sharma both birdied the 14th to join Fox on 11 under, with the trio locked in a three-way tie for the lead until Sharma failed to get up and down from the sand at the 16th to make the first of back-to-back bogeys.

Fox lost his share of the lead when he bogeyed the challenging par-four last after a wayward tee shot, as Fleetwood almost holed from 50 feet before tapping in for a par to complete an emotional victory.

“I played great and didn’t miss a shot until the 18th,” Fox said. “I certainly would’ve like to have played the 18th a little bit better and made Tommy work a little bit harder, but it’s an incredibly tough golf course to play down the stretch.

“All of us were there or thereabouts with three holes to play, but Tommy was the one who held it together. Fair play to him. If you had given me second at the start of the week, I definitely would’ve taken it.”

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Sharma finished two strokes back in third ahead of Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, who bogeyed his final two holes, while Christiaan Bezuidenhout claimed fifth spot on seven under with Sebastian Soderberg.

Hojgaard stumbled mid-round and had to settle for a share of eighth after a four-over 76, with Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald finishing tied-13th following closing rounds of 73 and 75.

The DP World Tour season reaches its climax next week at the DP World Tour Championship, with Featured Group coverage beginning on Thursday from 6am on Sky Sports Golf ahead of full coverage from 7pm.

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