Golf: Maiden European Tour triumph for Fisher

EAST LONDON, South Africa (AFP) - Trevor Fisher junior claimed his maiden European Tour title Sunday in East London and maintained a South African monopoly of the Africa Open tournament.

The Johannesburg-born and based golfer closed with an eight-under 64 for a 264 total and a five-shot victory in the co-sanctioned European Tour-Sunshine Tour championship.

Englishman Matt Ford, joint first-round pacesetter and sole second-round leader, finished with a 69 for a 269 total and second place.

Spaniards Jorge Campillo (66) and Eduardo de la Riva (66) and Dane Morten Madsen (66) shared third place.

Fisher follows Major-winning compatriots Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, plus Shane Norris, Darren Fichardt and Thomas Aiken as Africa Open champions.

The 35-year-old started the final round over the par-72, 6,108-metre layout in the tranquil Indian Ocean town with a two-shot advantage.

Ford narrowed the gap to a single stroke by the eighth before the tournament took a decisive turn over the following two holes.

Fisher birdied the par-four nine while Ford chipped his third shot past the hole, missed a challenging par putt and a one-shot lead changed to three.

The gap widened to four strokes after the par-three 10th, as Fisher holed a birdie putt while Ford had to settle for a par.

A calm Fisher, clad in black apart from white shoes, was four shots ahead with eight holes left and never looked like surrendering his vice-like grip.

A feature of his week was superbly consistent back-nine form - he did not drop a shot over the four rounds.

The fair-haired South African was almost as good on the front nine, bogeying only three times.

Ranked 271 in the world, Fisher turned professional in 2003, has won eight Sunshine Tour titles and his form this year ahead of the Africa Open was two top-32 finishes.

Darren Clarke, recently chosen skipper of Europe for the 2016 Ryder Cup showdown with the United States, ended with a 76 after a nightmare start to his final round.

The Northern Irishman carded a five-over 10 at the first hole followed by a bogey four at the second before steadying to pick up two birdies.