Turkish Airlines delight for McGee; Coetzee denies Olesen

Rhys Davies with the Turkish Airlines Challenge. 

Challenge Tour — Ruaidhri McGee put in a fast finish to take a share of eighth in the Turkish Airlines Challenge and move up to sixth in the Challenge Tour rankings.

A closing, one under 71 featuring birdies at the 16th and 17th gave the Rosapenna touring professional a cheque for € 3,588 to take his earnings from just three starts this year to €20,064.

It's been an excellent couple of weeks for McGee, who was playing on a medical extension until he finish tied second in the Challenge de Madrid last week. He now has full status on the Challenge Tour after suffering some injury problems in his rookie season.

At the top of the leaderboard, Welshman Rhys Davies proved that form is temporary but class is permanent as he marched to a first title in five years .

A two under par 70 at the pristine Gloria Golf Resort in Belek was enough to secure his first win since overcoming Louis Oozthuizen in an epic duel at the 2010 Trophée Hassan on The European Tour.

The 29 year old started nervously, driving into the trees from the first tee but saving par, and then bogeying the par three second, but he steadied the ship thereafter.

Four more birdies and just one more dropped shot meant he carded a two under par 70, elevating him to a 14 under total and bringing him a third career European Challenge Tour title.

“It’s a bit of a surprise to be honest”, said Davies, a two-time former Walker Cup player who beat Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler in the singles of the 2007 edition at Royal County Down.

“I knew it would be tough today, I never doubted that. I was really nervous to start with but again, I expected that. I hit a few dodgy shots, but I holed a freakish long putt on the second and even though it was for a bogey, that got me going.

“After that I settled fairly well. I wasn’t playing that well but I was scrambling really well and my golfing brain was in gear – hitting it in all the right places and not putting myself under too much pressure.

“If I’m brutally honest, I probably had a few good breaks this week. I hit a few strange shots at times that I got away with but I hit some fantastic ones too, my wedge and putter were excellent, especially at the weekend.

“The two guys I was playing with didn’t get off to a great start either so in that respect, I didn’t feel a huge amount of pressure. I just thought today, if I can shoot three under and get to 15 I’d be tough to catch, so that was my goal. I was one short and I came close to holing my chip on the last so I almost got there.”


274 R Davies (Wal) 69 70 65 70, 

278 L Gagli  (Ita) 72 69 69 68, 

279 B Åkesson (Swe) 70 66 72 71, P Archer (Eng) 70 69 71 69, C Shinkwin (Eng) 71 68 70 70, S Kim (USA) 76 63 69 71, W Harrold (Eng) 71 66 70 72, 

280 R McGee (Irl) 73 71 65 71

George Coetzee. Picture © Getty Images

George Coetzee. Picture © Getty Images

European Tour — George Coetzee prevented Thorbjørn Olesen from making a dream return after three months out injured by defeating the Dane on the second hole of a play-off to win the inaugural AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
Olesen, who has not played since the start of February after surgery to his left hand, had set the clubhouse target of 13 under par with a three under par final round of 68 as Kevin Phelan closed with a two under 69 to finish tied 44th on two under..
But Coetzee, who had led for the majority of the final day until a bogey on the 17th hole, birdied the closing hole for a round of 69 to match that score and take the tournament to extra holes.
After his eagle attempt lipped out on the first extra hole and both players made birdies, Coetzee then took advantage second time round with another four, compared to Olesen’s par five, to claim his third European Tour title.
The victory, Coetzee’s second of the season on The European Tour after March’s Tshwane Open, moves him into the top ten on The Race to Dubai, and with the campaign only 19 events old, he is the fifth multiple European Tour winner so far in 2015, joining Branden Grace, Anirban Lahiri, Andy Sullivan and Rory McIlroy.
Singapore’s Mardan Mamat birdied two of the closing three holes for a final round of 67 to finish third on 12 under par. Fittingly, it meant the Sunshine, European and Asian Tours were all represented in the top three in the first tournament to be tri-sanctioned by the three Tours.
“I felt nervous during the day but I’m happy to have pulled through it and posted a good number,” Coetzee said. “Thorbjørn did unbelievable well to put pressure on me the whole day and I had to work hard to catch him. I’m just happy the job is done, it doesn’t matter how many holes it takes, you just get it done.”
Complete final round scores (par 71)
271 G Coetzee (RSA) 70 67 65 69 € 166,660, T Olesen (Den) 65 68 70 68 (Coetzee €111,110 won at the second extra hole),
272 M Mamat (Sin) 69 69 67 67,
273 T Aiken (RSA) 69 66 68 70,
274 J Parry (Eng) 67 70 71 66, M Kawamura (Jpn) 68 69 71 66, S Hend (Aus) 72 66 70 66,
276 M Bremner (RSA) 71 70 66 69, O Bekker (RSA) 66 71 71 68, B Ritthammer (Ger) 71 70 68 67,
282 K Phelan (Irl) 68 73 72 69 (€5,200).