From drinking rat poison to golf’s biggest stage – first win sees Bezuidenhout reach the Open

Christiaan Bezuidenhout (left) played the fourth round with crowd favourite Jon Rahm at Valderrama
Andalucia Valderrama Masters leaderboard
-10 C Bezuidenhout (SA); -4 A Quiros, J Rahm, E De La Riva, A Arnaus (all Spa), M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra); -3 S Garcia (Spa)
Selected others: -1 A Sullivan (Eng); Par J Singh Brar, S Brown (Eng), S Jamieson (Sco); +3 E Molinari (Ita)
Full leaderboard (external site)

From accidentally drinking rat poison to reaching the biggest stage in golf – South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout came full circle with victory at the Andalucia Masters in Valderrama.

His first European Tour title secured a place at the Open later this month.

The 25-year-old was banned in 2014 over a failed drugs test at Royal Portrush after taking anti-anxiety medication.

He took beta blockers after developing a stutter following the accident aged two when he drank rat poison.

The South African gained his European Tour card via the qualifying school in 2017, having served a nine-month ban which had been reduced from two years.

In Spain, he survived a mid-round scare to cruise to a six-shot victory from home favourite Jon Rahm, alongside fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros, Eduardo de la Riva and Adri Arnaus, as well as France’s Mike Lorenzo Vera, with tournament host Sergio Garcia a shot further back.

Bezuidenhout, who was surprised by members of his family on the 18th green, said: “I’m proud of myself for hanging in there today after a tough stretch in the middle of my round.”

Andy Sullivan was the best of the British challengers, the Englishman finishing on one under.

Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and the English pair of Jack Singh Brar and Steven Brown all ended on level par.

X