Chris Paisley got off to the perfect start in his quest to secure a maiden berth at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship by winning his first European Tour title at the BMW SA Open Championship hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.
The Englishman finished three strokes clear of South Africa’s Branden Grace to pick up 166,425 points and take his season tally to 187,525, moving him from 46th to fifth place in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
“Many congratulations to Chris on his maiden Tour victory,” said Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International, Dubai office. “It’s still early days but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his spot inside the top 60 in the 2018 Race to Dubai. We would be delighted to see him compete at the European Tour season finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November.”
The 31-year-old went in to the final round at the Glendower Golf Club ahead by a single shot but a strong start from his playing partner Grace saw him briefly lose the lead.
However in the end, Paisley posted a bogey-free round of 66 to finish on 21 under par and become the third Englishman to win the event in the last four seasons.
“I played out of my skin,” he said. “I didn’t even think I was capable of playing that well to be honest, and to come out on top in such a wonderful place is amazing.”
Meanwhile Grace’s runner-up finish at his first event of the season saw him take up 12th place in the Race to Dubai with 115,500 points.
Fellow South African Dylan Frittelli, who finished tied fourth in his DP World Tour Championship debut last year, moved to second place in the Race to Dubai with a top 20 finish in South Africa after trading places with India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who is now third.
Zimbabawe’s Scott Vincent and South Africa’s Jacques Kruyswijk both made big strides up the rankings by finishing tied for fourth place at the BMW SA Open Championship. Vincent moved from 49th to 18th place with a season tally of 65,107 while Kruyswijk surged from 102nd to 23rd spot with 52,032 points.
Challenge Tour graduate Chase Koepka of the USA, who finished ninth in the 2017 Road to Oman rankings, also made significant gains with a tied seventh place finish in South Africa, which takes him from 118th to 45th place in the Race to Dubai.
Adrien Saddier, another Challenge Tour graduate, finished in a tie for seventh place in South Africa to take himself from 124th to 48th place in the rankings with a season tally of 28,638 points.
However after the first event of 2018, it’s still the Australian Wade Ormsby who remains at the head of the Race to Dubai Rankings with 357,710 points, whilst Frittelli is in second with a season-tally of 230,846 points and Sharma sits in third spot on 226,773.
Top 10 Race to Dubai Rankings after the BMW SA Open.
|7||Erik VAN ROOYEN||(RSA)||137,553|
|9||Rafa CABRERA BELLO||(ESP)||133,055|
Click here for the full 2018 Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex