Double-bogey at last costs wilting Rose title

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A double-bogey at the final hole cost Britain's Justin Rose the 725,000 first prize at the Nedbank Golf Challenge here yesterday.

The European No 1 and home favourite Trevor Immelman, who had both started the day on 16 under, were level on 17 under on the 18th tee but Rose pulled his drive into the trees, had to lay up short of the water but then flew the green and duffed a chip back to finish with a six.

Immelman had problems of his own and could make only a bogey his third in succession but a level-par final round of 72 was enough. The South African, a late invitee to the 12-man event, had appeared to have blown his chances after squandering the two-shot lead he held after 15 holes.

On the short 16th both players pulled their tee shots but Immelman chipped and two-putted while Rose got down in two from a bunker. At the next Rose salvaged par after almost driving into the water, while Immelman bogeyed from just off the back of the green. "This event is what we in South Africa have always regarded as Africa's major," Immelman said.

"Ever since I was a kid I've watched it on television. I dreamed of playing it one day, and then I dreamed of winning it. Today that dream has come true and it is a very special moment."

The three-time champion Ernie Els shot a disappointing 72 to finish third on 11 under, while Briton Luke Donald's 73 secured a share of sixth on five under. Els' play was too erratic on the final day and his final round included five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey on the 17th.

Only three players managed to beat par yesterday: the Australian, Geoff Ogilvy, Rory Sabbatini of South Africa and the American Stewart Cink, with 71s.

Retief Goosen had his poorest run at the event with his final-round 78 leaving him at 10-over, 26 shots off the pace.

* In Queenstown, the Briton, Richard Finch, claimed his first European Tour title yesterday with victory by three shots at the New Zealand Open. Finch, from Hull, who was ahead by three going into the final round, birdied the first, third and eighth holes but three bogeys on the back nine gave his pursuers hope. However, a level-par round of 72 proved enough.