MALELANE, South Africa – Garth Mulroy sank an 80-footer for birdie on the 16th to win his maiden Alfred Dunhill Championship on home soil Sunday.
The 33-year-old bogeyed the second to allow Jbe Kruger to level, before the latter’s challenge was ended by a double-bogey 6 at the ninth when he found water.
He finished at a championship record 19-under-par 269.
'I just tried to play smart golf and hit it in the right spots,' said Mulroy.
This victory beats his previous best European Tour performances of second in the 2011 Joburg Open and tied second in the 2008 Joburg Open.
But Mulroy, who plays out of North Carolina in the United States, nearly blew his chances as he bogeyed the 14th at almost exactly the same time as Murray eagled the 15th, and the two players drew level.
'I didn’t know that it was level,' said Mulroy, 'until I saw at the 16th tee after I birdied 15 that my lead was just one shot.
'In fact, I didn’t realize until I had played my tee shot on 16 well left of the water, and it turned out to be not the smartest option,' he added.
Four birdies between the sixth and 13th looked to have sealed victory for Mulroy, but as he dropped a shot at the 14th, Scotland’s George Murray played a wonderful second shot at the long 15th to ten feet and eagled.
But while Murray parred his way in for a career-best European Tour finish of second, Mulroy birdied the 15th and 16th the latter with a 60 foot downhill putt, which with two closing pars gave him a 4-under par 68 and 19 under total.
The best round of the day belonged to James Kamte, who raced to a 6-under-par 66 to climb into the top 10 and emphasized the fact that his victory in the Sunshine Tour's BMG Classic was a sign of his return to form.
Mulroy was the 100th South African win in European Tour history and he admitted his victory presented him with some exciting opportunities.