Sunday’s golf: Bezuidenhout wins Alfred Dunhill Championship

Associated Press

Malelane, South Africa — Christiaan Bezuidenhout came from three shots behind overnight to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Sunday as Adrian Meronk faltered in his quest to become the first Polish player to win a European Tour event.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Bezuidenhout finished with a 69 to win on 14 under par overall, four shots clear of overnight leader Meronk (76) and another three players tied for second at Leopard Creek Country Club.

It didn’t look on for home player Bezuidenhout at the turn after he made a double-bogey at No. 7 and a bogey at No. 8. But he pulled it together on the back nine, picking up three birdies and avoiding any more dropped shots to claim a second European Tour title.

Bezuidenhout won comfortably at the end after the other contenders all struggled to break par.

The 26-year-old South African’s career has been difficult. He was handed a doping ban as an amateur because of medication he takes to help with anxiety and a stutter that was caused when he accidentally drank rat poison as a child and nearly died.

The Alfred Dunhill Championship has a long history of home winners but Bezuidenhout is the first South African to take the title since 2016.

“This tournament has been close to my heart since I played it for the first time,” he said. “It’s always been a tournament I wanted to win and to pull it off today is really, really special to me.”

Meronk had become the first Polish player to lead a European Tour tournament this week and led by one going into the last day, but he struggled throughout on Sunday with four bogeys and a double-bogey. His final round of 76 was 11 shots worse than his opening round of 65.

Meronk shared second with Richard Bland of England (70), Sean Crocker of the United States (72) and Jayden Schaper of South Africa (75).

Ladies European Tour

Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen became the second player in Ladies European Tour history to win three straight tournaments, closing with a 6-under 66 for a four-shot victory in the season-ending Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open de Espana.

Coming off two victories in Saudi Arabia, Pedersen matched the record streak set by Marie-Laure de Lorenzi in 1989. With her father alongside as her caddie, the 24-year-old Pedersen finished at 15-under 273 at Real Club de Golf Guadalmina. She won for the fifth time in 12 starts and won the season money title.

Spain’s Nuria Iturrioz had a 69 to finish second.

Japan LPGA

Erika Hara won the Japan LPGA’s season-ending JLPGA Tour Championship Ricoh Cup for her second victory of the year and third overall.

The Japan Women’s Open winner in early October, Hara shot an even-par 72 for a two-stroke victory over Ayaka Furue (68). Hara finished at 10-under 278 at Miyazaki Country Club.