EKURHULENI, GAUTENG, South Africa – Former Oregon State golfer Morten Madsen won his first European Tour title on Sunday when he overtook a strong field, including former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, to claim the season-opening South African Open Championship.
Madsen shot a 19-under 67-66-69-67--269 at the Glendower Golf Club and knocked in a three-foot putt on his 72nd hole to win by two strokes over Jbe’ Kruger and Hennie Otto.
"It sounds like a cliche, but I really didn't expect to be here now at the beginning of the week," Madsen said at the trophy presentation. His previous best finish was a tie for second at the Madeira Islands Open last May.
Madsen got the first win in his 28th European Tour event to gain an exemption until the end of the 2015 season. It moved him from 244th to inside the top 120 on the Official World Golf Rankings and to the top of the Race to Dubai, which he finished 81st last season in his rookie campaign.
A native of Silkeborg, Denmark, Madsen made the cut at the 113th U.S. Open Championship in 2013 and qualified for the British Open in 2012. He is the first Dane to ever win the South African Open Championship and only the third Continental European to win the event.
Madsen, who enjoyed a successful career with the Beavers before leaving after the fall of his senior season to play professionally, is sixth on Oregon State’s career scoring average list with a 72.49 and ninth on the Beavers’ single-season scoring average list after posting a 72.41 in 2008-09.