Christiaan Bezuidenhout wins his maiden European Tour title to write a new chapter in a remarkable story that needs to be seen to be believed
It was a huge weekend in Spain as Sergio Garcia looked to win a fourth Andalucia Masters on the trot. While it wasn’t quite to be for the tournament host, it was still quite the story. Here’s our full Andalucia Masters report…
Andalucia Masters report: So what happened at Valderrama?
Christiaan Bezuidenhout happened. The 25-year-old won his maiden European Tour title in epic style.
Leading by five through 54 holes, Bezuidenhout immediately extended it to seven with back-to-back opening birdies on the final day, but that lead was cut to three thanks for four birdies between the 3rd and 7th.
But he eased away with three straight birdies from the 9th and could the South African could even afford one more bogey at 15 as he romped home to win by six at 10-under.
In reality, no one else, including the quintet of Jon Rahm, Alvaro Quiros, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Adri Arnaus and Eduardo De La Riva in 2nd place, came close to reaching double figures.
Defending champion and host Garcia was a further shot back at 3-under.
Andalucia Masters report: Any talking points?
Well there’s the winner. Bezuidenhout has had quite the remarkable life up to this point.
In a player’s blog for the European Tour earlier this year, Bezuidenhout opened up about his troubled childhood that started at the age of two when he accidentally drank some rat poison.
“I was playing outside when I picked up a random Coke bottle, I took a drink of it thinking it was indeed Coke, however it actually contained rat poison,” he wrote. “It was a moment which would change my life forever.”
Bezuidenhout’s stomach was pumped and he developed a stutter that led to anxiety and he spent several years using beta blockers to tackle it.
He added: “In 2014 however, I had a phone call which would have a huge impact on my golf career. I was playing in the British Amateur at Royal Portrush in 2014 when after my first round I handed my scorecard in and was told that I’d been nominated for a drugs test. I wrote the medication down on the form prior to the drugs test, making no secret of the fact I was using this medication.
“Two months later I was back home when one afternoon my dad phoned me to tell me I needed to come home immediately. I drove straight from practice and he broke the news to me that I had been suspended. I just broke down.”
Bezuidenhout had been handed a two-year ban, later reduced to nine months.
“It was awful,” he said. “It felt like my life was over.”
Bezuidenhout will now return to Portrush in three weeks for the Open having completed his own tale of redemption at Valderrama.
If you haven’t read Bezuidenhout’s blog, it’s well worth five minutes of your time.
Andalucia Masters report: Anything else?
On a slightly lighter note, what’s not to enjoy about Alvaro Quiros’s shirt from Saturday?
The Spaniard even had matching shoes…
It’s OK though because, as usual, Eddie Pepperell is on the case…
I think during the next European Tour committee meeting we are going to have to discuss whether Alvaro Quiros can remain part of it after seeing his outfit today.
— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) June 29, 2019
Still, at least Quiros toned it down on Sunday…