Golf | 14 Jan 2018 | By Michael Vlismas

Englishman Chris Paisley wins BMW SA Open

| Photo by Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour

Chris Paisley became the third Englishman in the past four years to win the BMW South African Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni with his three-stroke victory at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday.

Paisley withstood a strong challenge from world number 30 Branden Grace and closed with a 66 to finish on 21 under par.

“Going head-to-head with Branden in his home country and with what felt like everybody out there supporting him was tough. I didn’t think I was capable of playing that well,” said Paisley, whose wife Keri caddied for him.

“I just can’t say enough with just how good she was this week. She doesn’t know that much about golf but she knows me really well. Just coming up the last fairway with her next to me was just incredible.”

Grace took second place on 18 under par after a final round of 68. The South African was looking to add to his victory in November’s Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.

After a fast start to his final round in which he birdied the first and then eagled the second, Grace had a one-stroke lead over Paisley.

But he double-bogeyed the sixth to drop two behind Paisley. The Englishman then moved three clear of Grace with a birdie on the seventh and continued to play composed golf, not dropping a single shot on his way to the title.

“He was flawless out there and played the best golf,” said Grace. “It didn’t go my way but I’ll take second place in my first week back. Hopefully I can get my hands on this trophy sooner or later.”

South African JC Ritchie enjoyed his best finish in a tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and European Tour when he secured third place on 16 under par with a final round of 65.

Kyle McClatchie finished as the leading amateur in a share of 15th place to secure the Freddie Tait Trophy. McClatchie ended an impressive championship with a final round of 71 for a total of 10 under par.