South African David Frost duly completed his expected victory in the 2012 MCB Tour Championship yesterday.
But the bare facts fail to reveal the drama and tension that added spice to the closing stages of the tournament.
After holding a six-stroke lead at one time in the final round, Frost was left facing a two-putt from 25 feet for birdie at the last to secure the title.
With Australian Peter Fowler in the clubhouse on 10-under-par, England’s Barry Lane chipped in from the fringe of the 18th green for eagle to join Fowler on 10 under.
The possibility of a three-way play-off entered the conversation around the gallery as the attention turned to the 53-year-old South African. It didn’t last long, though. His long putt crept past the cup, leaving him two-foot to negotiate for the title.
Drama at the 6th tee
It was a strangely inconsistent performance from a man who had been a model of consistency for more than two rounds – until he arrived on the 6th tee. At that stage he had moved to 15 under after birdies at the first and third.
But then, inexplicably, he pulled his drive at the par-five hole and the ball disappeared into dense undergrowth. After much deliberation, Frost decided to go back to the tee but his second attempt followed a similar line and came to rest just beyond the buggy path.
A chip out onto the fairway and an approach to just short of the green took Frost’s tally at the hole to five, and an approach and a two-putt gave him an eight.
Into the lead…
Now Frost had a lead of two strokes over American Tim Thelen and three over Lane.
At the eighth it was Lane’s turn to suffer, with a double-bogey eight, and at the ninth, Thelen overshot the green with his approach but took three to get up and down from the bunker.
Frost and Lane birdied the 10th hole to restore a four-stroke advantage for the South African but he immediately dropped another shot with a bogey while Lane holed a 20-foot putt for birdie.
It got no better for Frost at the 12th when he found water with his second shot and ended with a double bogey although Thelen also dropped a stroke.
Meanwhile, news filtered back that Fowler had moved to nine-under with a birdie four at 14.
The only change among the last team at the 13th was a bogey for Lane but at the 14th, both Frost and Thelen dropped shots.
Frost made birdie at 15 to go to 10-under and Lane did the same to go to eight-under.
At the short but deceptive 17th, Fowler grabbed the birdie that took him to 10 under and into a share of the lead with Frost.
A test of nerves
Now it was a real test of nerves but after drifting right and blocking himself out with his drive at 18, Fowler had no direct route to the putting surface.
He hit the green with his third shot and two-putted for par for a 68.
Waiting down the field was Frost, who was now only in a share of the lead, and Lane, two in arrears.
Just as he had done 2 years ago against Roger Chapman in the MCB Senior Open, Frost went for the shot the moment demanded, bravely sending a four-iron approach over the lake and onto the green.
Lane, meanwhile, showed equal aggression to fly the right-hand bunker and come to rest pin high but on the fringe.
An exquisite chip never left the hole and disappeared into the cup for eagle, a round of 70 and a 10-under-par result.
Now the stage belonged to the South African and, drawing on his last reserves of composure and concentration, the moment belonged to him.
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