Masters champion Ian Woosnam claimed his second Gary Player Invitational victory, but his first in the South African tournament on the global series when he led his team to a two-stroke victory at the Lost City Golf Course at Sun City on Sunday.
Woosnam and his team of Bafana Bafana football star Matthew Booth and businessmen Marc Viakovsky and Laurent Girouille made two crucial birdies over the final two holes to take the iconic Baobab Trophy with a score of 34 under par. Tournament host Gary Player and his team of Springbok rugby player Owen Nkumane and businessmen Roger Gauntlett and Alex Maditsi finished second on 32 under par.
Woosnam previously won the London GPI tournament on the Gary Player Invitational series in 2015, and said he was delighted to add a victory at Sun City to that list.
“It’s brilliant. Sun City is a place I’ve always loved coming to and to add a trophy from here to the Wentworth title is just great,” said the Welshman, who was also still celebrating his country’s rugby success over the Springboks on Saturday.
“I’m thinking of just staying in South Africa what with the success I’ve had this weekend. But seriously, I’m really proud of the way the team performed. We needed those two birdies coming down the stretch and they delivered.
“It’s a wonderful way to cap off an incredible weekend in which we helped to raise almost R3 million for charity, and that’s what this is really all about.”
Businessman Girouille was equally delighted with the victory after finishing fourth in this tournament in 2016.
“It’s such a fantastic feeling. It was a wonderful experience, and a successful weekend having raised so much for charity.”
The fundraising success for the two official charities of Wildlands and Wings and Wishes was indeed celebrated by all the participants.
“It’s been a great few days at Sun City and I really need to thank Marc Player for inviting me and giving us that opportunity to contribute to charity in this way,” said West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it. We had lots of fun and made such great memories,” added fellow cricketing great Graeme Smith.
The fun and camaraderie of this event did indeed stand out, with the list of participants including a grandfather and his grandson in businessman Daniel Gavagnin and Luc Gavagnin. There was also the father-and-son pairing of businessmen Marco and Franco Saviozzi. And two great friends came together in the spirit of “Golf and Giving” as businessman Grant Horsfield, the defending champion, played with long-time friend Stuart Curtis.
It’s exactly this family spirit that exists on the Gary Player Invitational series that left the Black Knight with an overwhelming sense of gratitude at the end of another remarkable 2018 of global tournaments.
“It’s so special to change the lives of so many people around the world, and to do this through the game of golf. I cannot thank all of our participants and sponsors enough for how much they have given, and how they continue to help us to keep on giving back,” said Gary Player.
Final Scores from the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola:
-34 Ian Woosnam, Matthew Booth, Marc Viakovsky, Laurent Girouille 178 points
-32 Gary Player, Owen Nkumane, Roger Gauntlett, Alex Maditse 176 points
-31 Trevor Immelman, Jimmy Tau, Luc Gavagnin, Daniel Gavagnin 175 points
-31 Richard Sterne, Brian McFadden, Grant Horsfield, Stuart Curtis 175 points
-26 Keenan Davidse, Sir Kenny Dalglish, Andile Thloaele, Gideon Du Plessis 170 points
-24 Jean Hugo, Mark Williams, Khaled Samawi, Adrian Moors 168 points
-23 Joanna Klatten, Brian Lara, Stephanie Zinser, Steve Elford 167 points
-21 Annika Sorenstam, Aaron Mokoena, Marco Saviozzi, Franco Saviozzi 165 points
-19 Henni Zuel, Graeme Smith, Neil Senior, Pam Senior 163 points