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Alfred Dunhill SA PGA Championship
Houghton Golf Club
Johannesburg, South Africa
12th - 15th February 1998

Par 72 Prize Money 400,000

Final Round Report

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Third Round Scores - incomplete
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First Round Scores - incomplete

Johnstone wins but Norman disqualified

Johannesburg, South Africa, 16th February 1998 - Zimbabwe's Tony Johnstone ended a six-year drought on the European Tour to win the 400,000 Alfred Dunhill PGA Championship in Johannesburg - but his victory was overshadowed by world number two Greg Norman's disqualification.

Johnstone held off a strong challenge by local hero Ernie Els to take the title by two shots as the tournament at Houghton, co-sanctioned by the PGA of Southern Africa, went into a fifth day due to rain and then bad light.

But Norman, who had completed only nine holes of his final round on Sunday evening, told tournament officials that he would not be returning on Monday morning and left South Africa on his private jet.

The Australian, understood to be heading for a meeting with former US President George Bush to discuss the President's Cup tournament, was disqualified and fined the maximum permissible - a paltry 1,000 rand (125).

Tour commissioner Arnold Mentz said: "I am disappointed in Norman's decision not to conclude his final round.

"I consider his conduct to be injurious to the Southern African Tour."

Alfred Dunhill representative Iain Banner said: "We were aware of Greg's commitments in the USA and the fact that he could not stay on Monday.

"However, we respect the fact that the governing bodies of professional golf are obligated to deal with such matters in the manner they feel fit."

Johnstone was reluctant to comment on Norman's absence but said: "I don't want to say anything that would harm the sponsors, but how much was he getting paid this week?"

Norman, who was nine shots behind the Zimbabwean before his decision to quit, was understood to have collected around 200,000 appearance money and Johnstone said: "I would have thought that was worth an extra day."

Johnstone, who led by five strokes going into the final round, and US Open champion Els both had 10 holes still to play this morning.

But 41-year-old Johnstone completed a level-par 72 for a 17-under total of 271 as Els carded a 69 to finish on 273.

South African Retief Goosen, who closed with a 65, and defending champion Nick Price of Zimbabwe (68) shared third place on 275.

American Scott Dunlap was fifth on 276 with Phillip Price of Wales sixth on 277 followed by England's Anthony Wall on 279.

Johnstone said: "It's just great to win again. There were times last year when I was seriously thinking about finding another line of work.

"This week everything just came together for me.

"The key was the putter. Everything flows from the putter.

"Every single putt I hit this week went where I wanted at the pace I wanted, even if I didn't always sink them."

Johnstone did hole the putt that really mattered, a three-yard tester for a birdie on the par-four 17th after Els had levelled matters at the 16th with a birdie to his rival's par.

Both players then found a greenside bunker on the last but Johnstone blasted out to tap-in range and Els, who needed to hole his shot to force a play-off, came up three yards short and missed the putt to card a bogey.

"I always enjoy going head-to-head with Ernie," said Johnstone.

"You know that he is not going to make too many mistakes coming at you, and if he draws level you can't just lie back and give up.

"You have to fight back. I think I did that today."

Johnstone, full of wisecracks as he relaxed after his win, said he would now have a week off, play three European Tour events in a row then take a six-week break.

"I'm cutting down on my schedule this year to about 24 events.

"For years I have been playing 34-38 tournaments and turning into a cabbage," he said.

"I'm being far more selective now and only entering tournaments where I think I have a chance.

"There are so many courses in Europe where I have no chance whatsoever. These courses get longer and longer and I have no chance against the gorillas."