Shaun Norris (Gallo Images)
South African Shaun Norris cuddled his baby daughter and shed tears after a three-stroke victory in the Steyn City Championship near Johannesburg on Sunday gave him his first European circuit title.
In a roller-coaster final round showdown with compatriot Dean Burmester, Norris saw his four-shot overnight lead disappear. He trailed by two strokes with five holes to play.
Norris birdied 14 and 16 to draw level and the tournament was won and lost at the par-four 17th where Burmester strayed left into rough off the tee.
Burmester failed to find the green with his ‘blind’ second shot and then three-putted for a double bogey six while Norris holed a birdie putt for a three-shot advantage.
Norris closed with a par four for a 70 and a 25-under total of 263 while Burmester carded a 69 for 266. South African Oliver Bekker (67) and German Matti Schmid (71) shared third place on 269.
Rarely has a tournament triumph proved so emotional as Norris, 39, held his daughter and stood beside his wife after winning at a course just north of Johannesburg.
“It is wonderful that my wife, daughter and brother (his caddie) are here to share this special day with me,” Norris said. “No words can describe how wonderful I feel. This is absolutely beautiful.
“I turned two over today but remained patient believing that I could win. I was hitting the ball nicely and decided to put my foot down and go for it over the closing nine holes.”
Johannesburg-born Norris had won nine times on the South African, Asian and Japanese circuits, and finally succeeded on the European tour at the 114th attempt.
The Steyn City Championship concluded a three-tournament African swing with Chinese Wu Ashun winning the Magical Kenyan Open and Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal the MyGolfLife Open in South Africa.
Leading final-round scores from the DP World Tour’s Steyn City Championship in Johannesburg on Sunday (RSA unless stated; par 72):
263 – Shaun Norris 64-62-67-70
266 – Dean Burmester 66-65-66-69
269 – Oliver Bekker 69-63-70-67, Matti Schmid (GER) 69-65-64-71
270 – Joachim B Hansen (DEN) 68-64-67-71, James Hart du Preez 63-66-73-68, Tapio Pulkkanen (FIN) 68-67-68-67
271 – Romain Langasque (FRA) 65-68-67-71, Thriston Lawrence 69-68-68-66
272 – Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 68-65-68-71, Jacques Kruyswijk 71-67-68-66, Joost Luiten (NED) 68-66-69-69, Wilco Nienaber 66-72-67-67, Sebastian Soderberg (SWE) 65-67-67-73, Dale Whitnell (ENG) 69-69-67-67