Vodacom Players Championship
Vodacom Players Championship
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Chris Davison wins first title for 5 years

Chris Davison hardly put a club wrong in cruising to a three-stroke victory in the Vodacom Players' Championship at Royal Durban Golf Club on Sunday.

A one-stroke leader overnight, Davison carded a 69 to finish on 13-under par 275 and claim the first prize of R158 000. Nic Henning, six-under overnight, shot 68 to take second place with a 10-under par total of 278.

Third was Andre Cruse, whose 72 put him on nine-under par 279, with defending champion Mark McNulty finishing fourth on eight-under 280 following a 69.

Davison, who shot 34 on the front nine and 35 coming home, played immaculate, unhurried golf in a bogey-free round which featured three birdies - at the par-four fifth, par-five ninth and the 15th, also a par-five.

His last victory was in the South African Masters in 1994.

Davison dedicated his win to his wife, Carlien, as well as to a black caddie at Mount Edgcombe Country Club, 20-year-old Ludwig Chiya, who lost a leg in a hit-and-run six months ago.

"I remember him always having a ball at his feet," Davison said of Chiya. "He was an incredible ball player and was really going places.

"He now wears a prosthesis, but can't really caddie too much. A group of us have decided to club together and buy a motorised bike to help him."

Davison has had his own health problems, with a shoulder injured in a car accident in 1996 almost ending his career.

"That was the worst time of my life," Davison said. "If I see the surgeon who botched my operation I'll kill him because he absolutely butchered me.

"But that's why this win is far more special than the 1994 Masters because it's been such a long road. I was so calm and confident out there."

Davison never looked in danger of relinquishing the lead, but Cruse's five dropped shots almost certainly cost him second place.

Henning, who had just one dropped shot and five birdies, leapfrogged Cruse, Wayne Bradley and Clinton Whitelaw to surge into the runner's-up spot.

Bradley and Whitelaw, nine and seven-under par respectively overnight, shot 74 and 72 to finish joint fifth with Brenden Pappas and Bradley Davison on seven-under 281.

The Vodacom Tour now moves to Sun City and the Gary Player Country Club for the Dimension Data Pro-Am starting on Thursday. Included in the field of 98 professionals is Spanish Ryder Cup star Costantino Rocca.