JOHANNESBURG: Home favourite Charl Schwartzel protected his overnight lead to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship for the fourth time on Sunday as he finished four strokes clear of Frenchman Gregory Bourdy at the Leopard Creek Country Club.
The former Masters champion shook off a shaky front nine when he made the turn in one over 36 but a closing 34 was enough to see the Johannesburg native clinch a fourth win in the first event of the 2016 Race to Dubai.
He finished the tournament 15-under par and also became the first South African to win an EPGA event four times and the third man from his country, after Ernie Els and Retief Goosen to win ten EPGA tournaments.
The 31-year-old was never really in danger after coming into the final 18 holes with a three shot lead and Bourdy was his closest rival.
Another Frenchman Benjamin Hebert was a further shot back in third spot, his best European finish.
Sebastien Gros of France and fellow Challenge Tour graduate Thomas Linard was then at eight under alongside Matt Ford and Joost Luiten.
Defending champion Branden Grace was a further shot back after seeing his late charge, which began with an eagle on the par four 11th, ended as he found the water on the 16th and 18th.
Jaco Van Zyl was also at seven under after firing the round of the day with a 64, alongside Eddie Pepperell who ended his week with a 68.
Two-time champion Pablo Martin was then in the group at six under with last season s Road to Oman winner Ricardo Gouveia and Qualifying School rookie Brandon Stone among those at five under.