Warren Little/Getty Images

Graeme Storm clinched the 2017 BMW SA Open crown on Sunday, beating Rory McIlroy in a play-off decider after the pair finished 72 holes level at 18-under-par at Glendower Golf Course in Gauteng, South Africa. 

Both Storm and McIlroy parred their first two attempts at the 18th hole in the play-off, but it was the latter who blinked first and conceded the title with a bogey on his third attempt. Storm sealed a third successive par to take the top prize of €164,409 (£144,000).

Jordan Smith finished in third place and was just a shot away from taking part in the play-off himself before a bogey on the 17th meant he finished at 17-under and brought an early end to his day as Storm and McIlroy progressed.

Dean Burmester’s fourth-round score of 69 was enough to see him finish as the highest-placed South African player at fourth after finishing at 15-under, closely followed by Thomas Aiken and Trevor Fisher Jr, who tied for fifth.

Read on for a recap of the action from the final day of the 2017 BMW SA Open, complete with a look at the leaderboard’s final top 10 and a breakdown of the tournament’s payouts, per the official European Tour website.

2017 BMW SA Open Final Leaderboard
T1 Graeme Storm (*Wins via play-off) -18 71
2 Rory McIlroy -18 68
3 Jordan Smith -17 68
4 Dean Burmester -15 69
5 Thomas Aiken -14 69
5 Trevor Fisher Jr. -14 69
7 Edoardo Molinari -13 71
7 Joel Stalter -13 71
7 Peter Uihlein -13 71
7 Alexander Bjork -13 68

2017 BMW SA Open: Top 10 Prize Money Payouts
1st €€164,409 (£144,000)
2nd €€119,287 (£104,000)
3rd €€71,780 (£63,000)
4th €50,930 (£45,000)
5th €€42,840 (£38,000)
6th €36,720 (£32,000)
7th €€30,600 (£27,000)
8th €€25,517 (£22,000)
9th €€22,405 (£19,000)
10th €€20,331 (£17,000)


The leaderboard’s top trio were left contending until the last hole on Sunday after a three-way battle between McIlroy, Storm and Smith erupted, resulting in a mighty head-to-head-to-head for the grand prize at Glendower.

McIlroy led Storm by a single shot before a bunker on the 17th saw his progress stunted at the 11th-hour, and the European Tour illustrated just how tight the podium prospects were heading into a terrific climax:

Storm couldn’t quite reach the standards witnessed earlier in the competition—such as tying the course record 63 on Day 2—and instead opted for a safer approach in his bid to see out the field and retain his lead.

The Englishman parred 15 holes on Day 4—along with two birdies and a bogey—and drew major praise for his stubborn outing against one of golf’s major powers, such as this from broadcaster Nick Dougherty:

McIlroy complained of back pains before Friday’s session, per BBC Sport, but persevered to play a Day 2 round of 68 and managed to match that result on Day 4, while Storm’s 71 was enough to bag him a place in the play-off.

It wasn’t until the 17th that McIlroy conceded his first and only bogey of the day following a superb front nine, per Bet365:

Both challengers parred their first play-off hole on the 18th before Storm almost edged ahead with a long-range birdie putt on his second attempt, which just trickled wide. Storm gathered to par that second attempt from five feet before McIlroy followed suit for a second time.

Third time proved to be the charm for Storm, and after lipping out on his birdie attempt, the 38-year-old converted to hole for par, while McIlroy just left himself with too much to do and had to settle for second as a result:

Smith came close to challenging for play-off berth and only just fell short after sealing his third consecutive round of 68 at Glendower, snagging the bronze medal after his day comprised four birdies, two eagles, two bogeys and a double bogey. 

Fisher Jr. went around the course in 69 and bagged a birdie on the 10th—one of five he snagged on Sunday—to go along with an eagle and four bogeys in what was a topsy-turvy day for him:

Unfortunately, it was far from a perfect result as far as the native talent was concerned, with the likes of Burmester and Aiken having to settle for fourth and fifth, respectively, despite strong displays from the pair on Day 4.

Sweden’s Alexander Bjork made big strides up the leaderboard on the final day of competition after sealing a brave 68, and he also recorded a bogey-free round for the second successive day.

However, the best performance of the day belonged to Norwegian Espen Kofstad, who shot an impressive 65 and leaped 33 places up the standings, earning a bigger prize payout and a greater share of the Race to Dubai points on offer.

Storm comes away from Gauteng as the tournament’s biggest winner, however, and will be looking to bigger things for the remainder of 2017 after giving his year a boost with victory in South Africa.

Source link