JOHANNESBURG – England’s Dan Bradbury claimed a wire-to-wire victory in the Joburg Open for his first DP World Tour title in only his third start at Houghton Golf Club on Sunday, and one of his first priorities was to find somewhere to get his laundry done. A one-week trip to South Africa had suddenly become the start of a new career.
Playing on a sponsor’s invitation into the Joburg Open and with no status on any tour anywhere in the world, Bradbury took his chance from day one and never looked back as he closed out his maiden professional title with a final round of 67 to win by three strokes on 21 under par.
“I was meant to be on a flight out this evening but happily that’s changed. I didn’t even pack enough clothes for more than one week. I’ve got the kids here asking for my cap but I only packed one for each day,” said a delighted Bradbury, who now moves on to this week’s Investec South African Open.
Finland’s Sami Välimäki took second place on 18 under par with a final round of 69, and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Daniel van Tonder shared third place on 17 under par following respective rounds of 66 and 68.
Bradbury also secured himself a spot in his first Major as one of the three leading professionals who qualified from this event for next year’s 151st Open at Royal Liverpool. Välimäki took the second spot, with Bezuidenhout taking the third by virtue of his higher world ranking over Van Tonder.
“I can’t tell you how it feels because it hasn’t sunk in yet. It means the world to me,” said Bradbury, who struggled to process just what this week has meant to him. “I wouldn’t have anywhere to play in the world without this. It’s been life changing. I’m going to play everything. I love playing.”
It was a composed performance all week from the Englishman who overcame weather delays and some strong charges on his lead to eventually triumph. Even on the final day he showed tremendous composure as he saved what could have been a swing in the lead when he chipped in for par on the par-four sixth hole.
“That was a big momentum changer. If I hadn’t made that I might have been tied for the lead, or even behind. To come out of that hole still leading was a bonus.”
It was also a bonus having his mother Sandra with him this week to watch his maiden victory.
“I’m bursting with pride,” she said. “His dad is at home looking after his sister’s dogs. I asked my boss if I could have the week off work to come with him. It’s just phenomenal. All his family and friends have been supporting him. The golf club back home (Wakefield Golf Club) was full – nobody was playing golf today. They were all supporting Dan in the clubhouse. It’s lovely.”