Madsen, Fichardt join NGC field

25 November 2013 10:58 AM

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Madsen, Fichardt join NGC field

When Morten Orum Madsen added his name to SA Open Championship golf trophy on Sunday, he received an entry into the $6.5-million Nedbank Golf Challenge.

He'll be joined there by South Africans Darren Fichardt and Dawie van der Walt, who qualify thanks to their No 1 and 2 positions respectively on the Order of Merit.

With his two-stroke triumph for a maiden European Tour victory at Glendower Golf Club, Madsen went from a world-ranked 244th into the 30-man field at the Gary Player Country Club from December 5-8.

"From the very first time I played in South Africa, I thoroughly enjoyed it," Madsen said after his victory.

"I always thought I would play pretty well but I didn't expect to win. It's an amazing feeling."

Madsen claimed his place with an impressive final round at Glendower in which he overcame a strong South African challenge.

Charl Schwartzel held the lead before a triple bogey on the sixth hole followed by a double bogey on the tenth.

Hennie Otto was in front as he chased a second SA Open title in three years, but bogeyed the 15th and double bogeyed the 16th.

"To have the SA Open as my first victory on the European Tour is extremely special," Madsen said.

"If you look down the list of names that have won this tournament in the past, there are Major champions and really great champions all around, so it's an honour."

Madsen became the first Dane to win the SA Open, and would join compatriot Thomas Bjorn in the Sun City field.

Fichardt secured his place in the field with a season that featured a victory in the Africa Open and second in the Tshwane Open, both of which are co-sanctioned by the European Tour. Van Der Walt’s second-place on the Order of Merit has been built largely around his victory in the Tshwane Open earlier this year.

This makes for a total of seven South Africans currently in the field for “Africa’s Major”, including Ernie Els, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Richard Sterne, Fichardt and Van Der Walt.

The winner of this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek will also qualify for the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

“Our new eligibility criteria has created more opportunities for the Sunshine Tour players to qualify. It’s an incredible reward for them at the end of the season and is a real investment in South African golf because it shows the value of competing in South Africa,” said Alastair Roper, the Tournament Director for Sun International’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.


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