Scottish duo denied by David Lipsky at Leopard Creek

American David Lipsky foiled hopes of a tartan triumph in the Alfred Dunhill Championship after first getting his nose ahead of the overnight leader, Scott Jamieson, then holding off a late thrust from David Drysdale at Leopard Creek in South Africa.

Scott Jamieson, right, congratulates David Lipsky after he was overtaken by the American in the final round. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty

As Lipsky closed with a four-under-par 68 to claim his second European Tour title triumph with a two-shot success, Drysdale recorded his best finish on the circuit in nearly a decade by securing second spot, a shot ahead of both Jamieson and home player Zander Lombard.

Bidding to land a maiden victory on his 471st appearance on the tour, Drysdale signed off with a five-under 67 – the joint-lowest round of the day – to set the clubhouse target with an 11-under-par 276 total.

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A closing birdie – it was almost an eagle as a beautifully-played chip from close to the water at the back of the green touched the edge of the hole – came as Lipsky was running up a double-bogey 5 at the 16th to see what had been a six-shot lead at one stage reduced to just one.

However, as Drysdale watched on television to see if he might get into a play-off, Lipsky made a solid 
par-4 at the 17th before matching the Scot’s birdie at the last to secure a top prize worth around £215,000. “It’s indescribable,” the 30-year-old Californian told sunshinetour.com as he savoured his first success since landing the 2014 Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland. “Winning is what we all hope to do. That’s what we all practice for, it’s what we all put in the time for – blood sweat and tears to be here.

“This was a tough year for me. I haven’t played that well. I really struggled. I kept my card, but I struggled – I’m not going to lie. To cap it off with a win at the end of the year is so special and I’m really looking forward to big things in 2019.”

Both Drysdale and Jamieson will also be looking forward to what lies ahead when the circuit resumes after a festive break, even though things might not have worked out in this event how either of them would have wished for.

Drysdale in particular will have taken massive encouragement from his last-day performance, having gone to the turn in three-under 32 then recovering from his only dropped shot at the 11th by picking up three shots in the last five holes.

The sterling effort earned him just under £150,000, putting him third behind Lipsky and Englishman Aaron Rai in the 2019 Race to Dubai after the 43-year-old from Cockburnspath started his 18th season on the European Tour by finishing fifth in the Hong Kong Open last month.

This was the third time in his career that Drysdale had ended up in second spot, having first come close to making the breakthrough in the 2006 Russian Open before suffering the same fate in the Open de Andalucia three years later.

Jamieson, who started the final day with a one-shot lead over Lipsky, almost chipped in for a birdie at the first before moving to 12-under for the tournament with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 second.

However, the 35-year-old Glasgwegian then saw his hopes of adding to a success on South African soil in the 2013 Nelson Mandela Championship dashed by dropping four shots in the next seven holes, a run that included a double-bogey at the short fifth.

That Jamieson repaired some of that damage with a burst of four straight birdies from the 12th would certainly have been a source of encouragement for him, as would have been a closing birdie that came after a bogey at the 16th.

The Scot, who closed with a 72, now has three top-five finishes in this event to his name, picking up just over £80,000 on this occasion as he finished alongside Lombard, who had Lipsky in his sights until running up a triple-bogey 6 at the treacherous 16th.

After a closing 71 in the company of Ernie Els, Bob MacIntyre finished joint 15th for the second week in a row. On two-under, he ended up two shots ahead of both David Law (69) and Marc Warren (77), with Doug McGuigan (73) finishing on one-under.