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Singapore Classic: Ockie Strydom's win makes him DP World Tour's in-form guy

South African clinches second title of the European Tour season, after years of toiling in the unknown

South African golfer Ockie Strydom with the Singapore Classic trophy at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.
South African golfer Ockie Strydom with the Singapore Classic trophy at Laguna National Golf Resort Club. (PHOTO: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — After more than a decade of toiling in obscurity, South African golfer Ockie Strydom finally caught fire in this DP World Tour season.

On Sunday (12 February), the 38-year-old won his second European Tour title this season when he carded a brilliant, bogey-free final round of nine-under-par 63 to clinch the US$2 million Singapore Classic at the Laguna National Golf Resort Club.

His 19-under total of 269 was just enough to pip Finland's Sami Valimaki by a single stroke. The 24-year-old Valimaki had an equally impressive final round of 66, but a costly bogey on the par-four 12th denied him the chance of adding a second DP World Tour title after his Oman Open triumph in 2020.

Germany's Marcel Schneider and South Korea's Wang Jeung-hun shared third spot, a further three strokes behind Valimaki.

For Strydom, he becomes the first golfer on the European Tour to win multiple titles this season, after his victory at the Alfred Dunhill Championship back in his home country in December. These were also his first European Tour titles since turning professional back in 2009.

"It’s a mindset that’s changing at the moment. You’ve been in a situation before and you know you can do it again," he said after his Singapore victory.

"I was thinking of not being here this week, I was hitting it so badly. My coach flew in, my wife said to me, ‘Listen, this may be your week’, and look what happened. It’s my week."

Ockie Strydom making his birdie shot on the 16th hole during Day Four of the Singapore Classic at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.
Ockie Strydom making his birdie shot on the 16th hole during Day Four of the Singapore Classic at Laguna National Golf Resort Club. (PHOTO: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Gripping duel in final stretch

Starting a massive 10 places and four shots behind overnight leaders Alejandro del Rey of Spain and Wang Jeung-hun of South Korea, Strydom displayed impeccable poise as he holed five birdies in the opening nine holes, climbing steadily up the leaderboard.

By then, both del Rey and Wang had ceded their joint overnight lead to Valimaki, who also had five birdies in the first nine holes. But Strydom continued to add birdies at the 13th and 14th while Valimaki stumbled on the 12th, and what ensued was a gripping duel in the final stretch.

While Valimaki steadied himself with pars in his final five holes, Strydom underscored his superb form of late with two more birdies at the 16th and 18th to seal his magnificent round. The decisive final birdie was particularly impressive, as he turned what could have been a tricky situation into a winning position with a deft chip into the green.

"The chip on 18 was phenomenal. It was one that is either perfect and coming back or it’s in the pond. I played it exactly how I wanted to. Just glad it came out to about half a foot and I knocked it in," said Strydom.

Valimaki could still have tied Strydom on his final hole, but just missed his birdie putt by a few inches, as he looked to the skies and sighed at missing his chance to end his 1,079-day title drought.

Finland golfer Sami Valimaki reacts missing his birdie putt on the 18th hole during Day Four of the Singapore Classic at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.
Finland golfer Sami Valimaki reacts missing his birdie putt on the 18th hole during Day Four of the Singapore Classic at Laguna National Golf Resort Club. (PHOTO: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

With his Singapore Classic victory, Strydom could move to fourth place in the Race to Dubai rankings for this DP World Tour season, and up to a career-high world No.142 in the world rankings.

Ryan Ang, Singapore's lone representative at the Classic, carded a final round of 74 to finish in joint-67th with a two-over total of 288.

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