Even Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script for this year's BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni at the revered Glendower Golf Club. On his 118th attempt, Chris Paisley got his maiden win on the European Tour – or to put it another way: The Paisleys did. For the first time at a tournament, his wife Keri was at her husband’s side as his caddie. Despite her spouse saying that she doesn’t really know all that much about golf. “But she knows me really well,” said the 31-year-old, whose actual caddie is still on holiday.
And the exchange of shots that Paisley and flight partner Branden Grace delivered on the final day was also worthy of Hollywood. After a 66, a 65 and a 70 on the first three days, Paisley entered the final day of the oldest golf tournament in South Africa with a one-shot advantage. However, this buffer was depleted after just two holes. BMW Friend of the Brand Grace started as strong as an ox and got the final round underway with a birdie and an eagle – much to the delight of the many fans, who it goes without saying were keeping their fingers crossed for their fellow countryman.
But the 29-year-old’s lead didn’t last long. A double bogey on hole six saw the decision fall in favour of Paisley – and even a strong back nine from the South African did nothing to change this. Just as on the previous days, Paisley improved his rhythm consistently, and even his flight partner’s temporary high failed to fluster him. With six birdies, a 66-shot round and a total of 21 shots under par, he returned to the clubhouse with his wife, where he was awarded his first European Tour title.
Behind Branden Grace (270), Jc Ritchie (272), Jacques Blaauw (274) and Jacques Kruyswijk (274) made it three more South Africans in third, fourth and fifth place. Following Andy Sullivan (2015) and Greame Storm (2017), Paisley is the third Englishman in the past four years to have won the tournament just outside Johannesburg.
"I’m just so happy with how the week went and to get the win, for not only myself and Keri, but for everyone that’s stood behind me. It's unbelievable," said Paisley. "I didn't even think I was capable of playing that well to be honest, and to come out on top in such a wonderful place is amazing." Almost too good to be true. Just like in Hollywood.