European Golf Tour

Madsen earns maiden win in South Africa

Gauteng, South Africa ( - Morten Orum Madsen fired a 5- under-par 67 on Sunday to win the South African Open Championship by a pair of strokes.

Madsen finished 72 holes at 19-under-par 269 for his first career win on the European Tour.

"It's been an amazing day. I don't really know right now (how I feel). It's kind of cliched to say it hasn't really sunk in, but it really hasn't," Madsen said at the trophy presentation.

"I'm just over the moon. I'm so happy. I mean coming down here, I expected to play well, but I didn't expect to stand here ... right now, that's for sure."

South African Hennie Otto, who won this event in 2011, shot 68 to share second place with compatriot Jbe' Kruger (65) at 17-under 271.

Charl Schwartzel, also from South Africa, pushed his overnight advantage to three strokes early Sunday, but the 2011 Masters champion stumbled to a triple bogey at the par-3 sixth and later double-bogeyed the 10th to drop out of contention. He carded a 71 and finished in a tie for fourth alongside Marco Crespi (70) at 16-under.

Alejandro Canizares shot 68 at Glendower Golf Club and took solo sixth at 15- under, while Trevor Fisher, Jr. fired a 64, the low round of the day, to share seventh with Johan Carlsson (67) at minus-14.

Schwartzel, the highest-ranked player in the field, was pursuing his first victory at this event. He led by one entering the final round and pushed that advantage to three with a hat trick of birdies from the second. But the eight- time European Tour winner fell apart from there, starting at the sixth, where he found the water off the tee and tripped to a costly triple bogey. Another stumble at the 10th, this time a double bogey, dropped the South African out of contention, and although he picked up three shots the rest of the way, a hometown win was not to be had.

With Schwartzel's fall came Otto's rise, as the former champion birdied half of his first 14 holes to jump ahead by four strokes. He too couldn't hold on, however, as a costly bogey-double bogey stretch from the 15th opened the door for Madsen.

Playing in the final group alongside Schwartzel, Madsen started the day one shot back and methodically worked his way in front. The Dane played bogey- free, picking up a pair of birdies during his outward nine at Nos. 2 and 7, then tallying three birdies in a four-hole span from the 13th to jump ahead of Otto.

The 25-year-old Madsen sealed his maiden win with a pair of pars, tapping in at the last to seal the final result at this season-opening event.

"I definitely felt like I could still win, but (Schwartzel) looked like he was going to go off and I was just trying to hang on and maybe stay in two or three shots and give myself a chance.

"I had a great back nine, but unfortunately for (Schwartzel) he struggled. On a couple of holes, he had some bad breaks. Luckily for me, I was there to capitalize and I did with some nice birdies down the stretch," said Madsen.

NOTES: Madsen earned 174,350 euros with the win ... Madsen's previous best finish on the European Tour was a tie for second at the 2013 Madeira Islands Open. He finished 81st in the Race to Dubai in 2013 (his rookie season) ... Madsen became the ninth different Dane to win in European Tour history ... This tournament is co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour ... Next to the British Open, this is the oldest national championship.

11/24 11:33:55 ET