Aiken tops Fisher to win Africa Open

The Sports NetworkFebruary 16, 2014 

East London, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Thomas Aiken birdied the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat Oliver Fisher and win the Africa Open.

Aiken carded a 4-under 67, while Fisher posted a 2-under 69 in the final round. The duo ended regulation at 20-under-par 264, which beat Louis Oosthuizen's tournament record by one stroke.

The pair headed back to the 18th for the playoff. Fisher was in trouble from the start as he missed the fairway off the tee. He also missed the green with his approach long, left.

Aiken was on the fairway off the tee, then dropped his approach 40 feet from the hole. After Fisher chipped on, Aiken poured in his birdie effort to win the title.

"I've been waiting for this for quite some time; I've won a couple of times overseas, but there is nothing like winning in front of a home crowd," Aiken said. "The South African fans have been unbelievable throughout my whole career, so it's nice to finally get one for you guys."

David Horsey (65) and John Hahn (68) shared third place at minus-19.

Last year's champion Darren Fichardt carded a 5-under 66 to move into a tie for fifth place at 18-under 266. He was joined there by Richard Bland (69), Jaco Van Zyl (65) and Emiliano Grillo (73).

Grillo had the lead entering the final round, but faltered to a quintuple- bogey on the first to drop three behind the leaders.

Aiken, who was in the penultimate group out, made eagle on the par-5 third to grab the lead at minus-18. He birdied the fifth for the four time in four days.

Fisher tripped to a bogey at the first, but bounced back with birdies at three and four to grab a share of the lead at 19-under. He posted another birdie at the sixth to move to 20-under. Fisher gave that shot back when he bogeyed the seventh.

The created a tie for the lead at minus-19. Aiken, after his birdie at five, ran off eight consecutive pars from the sixth.

Fisher parred five in a row from the eighth before stumbling to a bogey on the 13th. Aiken then bogeyed the 14th to briefly create a 4-way tie for the lead, but Hahn birdied 15 to move atop the leaderboard at 19-under.

Aiken and Fisher bounced back after their bogeys. Aiken birdied 15 and 16 to grab the lead at 20-under. Fisher joined him there as he made birdies on 14 and 15.

Aiken parred the final two holes to get in first at 20-under. Fisher parred his last three to force the playoff.

NOTES: Aiken earned 158,500 euros for his third European Tour title ... Aiken played the third and fifth at 10-under par with six birdies and two eagles ... Fisher played third, 15th and 16th at 12-under par for the week with 10 birdies and an eagle ... The European Tour will be in the United States next week for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where Matt Kuchar is expected to defend his title.

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