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Aiken sinks monster playoff putt to win Africa Open

Thomas Aiken from South Africa chips a shot onto the 14th green during the first day of the HSBC Champions at Mission Hills in the southern
Thomas Aiken from South Africa chips a shot onto the 14th green during the first day of the HSBC Champions at Mission Hills in the southern

EAST LONDON, South Africa (Reuters) - Thomas Aiken secured a third European Tour victory and his first on home soil when he sank a 30-foot put on the first playoff hole to beat Oliver Fisher and claim the Africa Open title on Sunday.

Aiken and Fisher finished their final rounds on 20 under par and after hitting the green in two, the 30-year-old South African sunk his putt to add to his 2011 Open de Espana and 2013 Avantha Masters titles.

The win capped off a memorable tournament for Aiken in which his wife Kate caddied for him.

"Thanks so much to my wife, who helped me on the bag for the first time - we might have to do it again!," Aiken said at the trophy presentation.

"I've been waiting for this for quite some time. I've won a couple of times overseas, but there is nothing like winning in front of a home crowd.

"The South African fans have been unbelievable throughout my whole career so it's nice to finally get one for you guys."

Despite being in a position to win the Joburg Open last weekend before letting it slip in his final round, Aiken said he felt the next title would come soon enough.

"The last few weeks I have finished in the top five," he added.

"The golf has been good and it was only a matter of time until something happened. I stayed very patient this week."

Aiken shot an eagle and three birdies in his four under-par 67 on Sunday - a steady hand against Fisher's erratic two under-par 69 that included five birdies and three bogies.

England's David Horsey finished strongly with a 65 to secure a tie for third place with American John Hahn.

Argentina's Emiliano Grillo had led by two shots going into the fourth round, but plummeted down the leaderboard after carding a quintuple-bogey nine at the first hole.

Grillo closed out his final round with five straight birdies, but had to settle for a tie for fifth place.

(Reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town; editing by Mark Pangallo; nick.said@thomsonreuters.com +27832722948 Messaging nick.said.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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