Swedenâ€™s Anton Karlsson joked on Saturday that he was going to claim a come-from-behind victory at the RAM Cape Town Open and did just that on Sunday, winning it by one stroke over Garrick Higgo on 14-under-par 274 at Royal Cape.
He was three shots off the pace set by Daniel van Tonder at the start of the final round and a bogey on the first hole threatened to set him back even further. Another bogey, on the fourth, followed before he could make any gains. He brought it back to level-par with birdies on the seventh and ninth holes to give himself an opportunity at a win.
â€œIt was tough out there and I wasnâ€™t really in the best spots in those first few holes,â€ he said. â€œThe wind was the worst Iâ€™ve seen in a long time. But I spoke to my caddie and I said it was going to be a tough day for everyone.â€
He took to the back nine with some flair, however, birdieing the next four holes one after the other to make it six birdies in seven holes and get it to 15-under par. A disappointing bogey on the 15th took from those gains and with Garrick Higgo sitting in the clubhouse at 13-under, Karlsson knew he could not afford to falter again. He kept it steady from there, making four straight pars highlighted by an impressive save on the last hole to finish at 14-under.
â€œTo win here feels so good,â€ he admits, â€œfor the first time, I was not really sure what score I was on for the day. I knew I was on top of the leaderboard but I couldnâ€™t tell by how many shots I was leading and I saw Higgo finished well at 13-under so I had to play solid golf. It was pretty brutal out there but Iâ€™m very happy to have pulled it together like that. Itâ€™s always important to get the season off to a good start because you can really get going after that.â€
A third successive five-under 67 proved not enough to get Higgo into a playoff and give him an opportunity to make it two wins in his rookie season on the Sunshine Tour.