Chris Paisley claims maiden European Tour title at BMW SA Open
Last Updated: 14/01/18 3:16pm
Chris Paisley won his first European Tour title with an impressive three-stroke victory at the BMW SA Open.
The Englishman carded a faultless six-under 66 at Glendower Golf Club to extend his overnight slender one-shot lead and pull away from nearest challenger Branden Grace.
Paisley, playing alongside Grace, was made to work for the victory by the eight-time European Tour winner with 23-year-old South African JC Ritchie in third position - a career-best finish on the European Tour.
"I just can't believe it to be honest," Paisley, who was also full of praise for wife and caddie Keri, told Sky Sports at the trophy presentation.
"I just played great, I played out of my skin. I didn't think I was capable of playing that well to be honest.
"I can't say enough about how good a job she did all week. It is her first time as a caddie and she didn't put a foot wrong. I can't thank her enough."
Paisley birdied two of his opening four holes but his strong beginning only saw him head to the fifth tee level with Grace at 17 under.
A double-bogey five at the par-three sixth by Grace handed Paisley the initiative and he made the most of it with a birdie at the seventh to hold a commanding three-shot advantage.
With the chasing group unable to put any pressure on the leader, focus was fully on the final group and a birdie at the 10th increased the likelihood of a second successive Englishman winning the tournament, after Graeme Storm's success last year.
Despite Grace picking up four shots, including an eagle three at the 13th, during a four-hole spell, his bid for the title was all but over when the 29-year-old bogeyed the 12th, and Paisley maintained his composure to make gains at 13 and 15.
Ritchie enjoyed an eventful final-round, seven-under 65, which included two eagles and six birdies, to climb to third position and two shots clear of South African duo Jacques Kruyswijk and Jacques Blaauw, with Zimbabwean Scott Vincent also finishing at the 14-under mark.