Nick Bachem won the 2023 Jonsson Workwear Open by four strokes after a final round of 64 in Johannesburg.
The German, a keen surfer who has made the most of the recent Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned events to check out the waves off the South African coast, headed a crowded leaderboard for much of the final day before pulling clear as his rivals faltered on the back nine.
The 23-year-old finished 24-under at The Club at Steyn City for his first win on the DP World Tour, with home duo Hennie du Plessis and Zander Lombard sharing second place on 20-under.
He said: “It’s just amazing. I can’t understand what’s happening the last couple of days, it’s just amazing and feels great.
“I just had the goal to enjoy today, it’s just the beginning of my career so I just enjoyed it as much as possible and played great and got lucky that it was my day.
“I thought it was super-close and then I saw the leaderboard on 15, saw I was four shots ahead or whatever and then I was super-nervous. I just kept on going and it was a pretty nice finish.”
Two years ago Nick Bachem was playing on the Pro Golf Tour.
He's now a winner on the DP World Tour!#JonssonWorkwearOpen | @Sunshine_Tour pic.twitter.com/E8ERWkqCk1
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) March 26, 2023
Bachem and playing partner Gavin Green hit the front early on, each making three birdies in the first four holes, before overnight leader Alexander Knappe responded at the fifth.
Another birdie for Bachem at the sixth kept him one clear until compatriot Knappe birdied the ninth, with Du Plessis joining Knappe and Green at 19-under thanks to a birdie at the seventh.
Bachem and Green both birdied the 10th, with the German adding another at the next to open up a two-shot cushion.
Double-bogeys at the 12th dropped Green and Knappe back to 18-under, leaving Du Plessis alone in second until he too double-bogeyed the 13th — his first dropped shots in 59 holes, since bogeying the eighth in round one.
Bachem capitalised with a birdie thanks to a perfect tee-shot at the par-three 14th to take a five-shot lead with four to play and rode the wave the rest of the way home.
Former LIV Golfer Du Plessis bounced back from his error with two consecutive birdies but Bachem eased any potential nerves with one of his own at the 17th before parring the last.
He added: “I just changed my mindset, I was in the lead for the first time ever in Kenya two ago and I was like: ‘I want to win now, I want to play the course record, I want everything now.’
“Yesterday I was just like: ‘If I make a top 20 or top 15 it’s a great week,’ so I just stuck to the plan and made nine pars in a row and I was super-calm.
“I made three good birdies, especially the last one yesterday on 18 was amazing, and then going out today it was just a perfect round of golf. Really enjoyable.”
Lombard emerged from the chasing pack with nine birdies in a 65, his fourth round of the week in the 60s, to share second place with Du Plessis.
Ockie Strydom, winner of December’s Alfred Dunhill Championship and last month’s Singapore Classic, kick-started his challenge with three successive birdies from the 10th but had to settle for joint fourth alongside Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson. Strydom rises to fourth on the Race to Dubai Rankings.
Joakim Lagergren, whose 63 on Saturday set the lowest round of the week, carried on his momentum with birdies at the first and third only to give the shots back at the next two holes. A two-under-par 70 eventually took him to 18-under, level with Green and Kristian Krogh Johannessen after the Norwegian matched Bachem for the low round of the day.
Johannessen started the day seven shots off the pace but ended it with a second successive top-10 finish, having shared third at last week’s SDC Championship.
Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg reached the turn in 32 and on a run of four straight birdies but remained 17-under after a level-par back nine, finishing alongside France’s Romain Langasque and South Africans Hennie O’Kennedy and Jacques Kruyswijk.