MG Keyser keeps cool to win Golf Citizen Classic in a thrilling playoff

MG Keyser kept his cool when it mattered most on a steamy afternoon to win the Golf Citizen Classic, beating Spain’s Victor Bertran in a sudden-death playoff at the Els Club, Dubai.

Bertran, playing in the seventh last group, carded a final round of 66 to set the clubhouse target of nine under that the South African ace, who started the day two in front, matched with a birdie on the 18th to force a playoff.

Keyser, who closed with a 73, hit the green in two on the first extra hole, the –par-5, 18th, and two-putted for birdie to seal a tense victory, becoming only the second player after England’s Zane Scotland to make it two in a row on the MENA Tour.

“It was a pretty long day out there, but luckily I managed to get the job done,” said Keyser after receiving the winner’s cup from Mark Chapleski, president, Troon International Division. Karl Whitehead, general manager of the Els Club, and Thomas Nicholson, the tournament coordinator, were also present.

“I didn’t play very good golf all day, but I know the course pretty well and that knowledge came in handy,” said Keyser, who double-bogeyed the par-5, fifth to surrender the overnight lead.

“I knew the16th and 18th are birdiable holes and I did birdie them to stay in the hunt. I have been playing on this course for the last three years or so and can say from experience that it’s the best in the Middle East, always in great condition,” said the 30-year-old South African.

“I would have loved to give it a go for a hat-trick of wins on the MENA Tour, but unfortunately I have to travel to Malaysia for an Asian Development Tour event next week, but I really enjoyed playing on the MENA Tour,” said the Cape Province native.

Spain’s Bertran had his chances to earn his first MENA Tour victory, but pulled his second shot in the playoff and had to settle for a bogey.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s bid to claim his first MENA Tour victory since 2016 fell short after he closed with a 74 that left the Englishman alone in fourth place, one behind fellow countryman Adam Sagar.

England’s Todd Clements carded a flawless 69 to win the amateur division he shared with India’s Rayhan Thomas at last week’s Dubai Creek Open on two-under, a good two shots ahead of Germany’s Marcus Toennessen with Slovakia’s settling for Jakub Hrinda a further two shots adrift.

Italy’s Rocco Sanjust, starting the day tied for 28th on one-over, matched Bertran’s lowest score of the day with a bogey-free 66, to make the biggest move, finishing a creditable eighth on five-under as a tidy final round 67 saw Pakistan’s Aadil Jehangir take a share of 17th on two under.

Next up on the MENA Tour is the Golf Citizen Abu Dhabi Open which be held at Yas Links Golf Club from September 25 to 27.

An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.

A guaranteed spot on the PGA Tour’s 2018 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (for the MENA Tour champion), multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Maybank Championship Malaysia, and the KLM Open, are some of the added incentives that await MENA Tour members, in addition to playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour, and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour Q-Schools.

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