In the end, there was no catching the eventual winner, but Hennie du Plessis will look back ruefully on his bogey on the 16th on Sunday as he finished in a share of third in the DP World Tour’s ISPS Handa Championship in Spain.
It was the third of three bogeys that he made in that final round, but, with that par-five hole and the par-five 18th available for what could have been fairly regulation birdies, good scores there could have seen him match the 15-under-par winning total of Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal whose brilliant closing eight-under-par 62 was eventually one shot better than countryman Adrian Otaegui.
Du Plessis also made bogeys on six and 12, and they undoubtedly affected his chances, but not as much as the untidy drop on 16. In response to the first drop, he made four birdies in a row around the turn – on eight, nine, 10 and 11 – but he marked the end of that run with his second bogey. The ship was stabilised with a birdie on 13, and he closed out on 18 with another gain to round out a good week in which he climbed 42 places into 40th place on the DP World Tour Ranking list.
Larazzabal proved too good on the day, with birdies on four and seven being followed by a purple patch of five birdies in a row from the ninth around the turn eventually turning the tide of the tournament in his favour. He bogeyed 15, but responded with birdies on 16 and 18 for his seventh title on the tour, and his second this season after he took the MyGolfLife Open at Pecanwood in South Africa in March.
For Du Plessis, there will be some consolation in the fact that 16 gave up birdies only reluctantly on the day, with only six coming from the 73 players who made the cut, with 10 bogeys other than his, as well as a double-bogey.
It was a good showing by other South Africans, too, with Darren Fichardt closing with a three-under 67 to reach eight-under and a share of eighth, and Oliver Bekker carding a 67 too, to climb into a share of 10th on seven-under.
Justin Walters finished with a 68 to be on five-under for the week in a share of 23rd, and Louis de Jager had a level-par 70 closing round to finish in a share of 38th on three-under with Thriston Lawrence. Daniel van Tonder had a 72 to finish 0ne-over in 64th.