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McLardy coasts to victory at South African Tour Championship

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Leopard Creek, South Africa (Sports Network) - Andrew McLardy coasted to an even-par 72 Sunday and it was good enough for him to win the South African Tour Championship by three strokes. McLardy ended the event at 15-under-par 273. Louis Oosthuizen fired a six-under 66 to get within three strokes of the winner. He finished at 12-under-par 276. Keith Horne shot a closing 68 to take third place at eight-under-par 280, with Alan McLean finishing one stroke further back at minus-seven.

McLardy opened the day with a seven-shot cushion and was never seriously challenged. The South African got his round going at Leopard Creek with a birdie at the par-five second for the fourth straight round.

He cruised to seven straight pars before stumbling to a bogey at the 10th. The par-five 15th yielded its fourth birdie in four days to McLardy, which moved him to minus-16.

The 30-year-old, who won the Nashua Masters two weeks ago, stumbled to a bogey on No. 17, but he closed with a par for the easy win.

"I achieved that early in my career and then lost them both, so my confidence took a big whack," said McLardy of losing his playing privileges on both the European and United States PGA Tours. "I thought I couldn't compete at that level. But hopefully with a bit more experience and being a bit older we can get there again and stay there."

The win secures McLardy a spot in the WGC-NEC Invitational field, as well as a spot in the fields at the dunhill links championship and the WGC-American Express Championship.

Desvonde Botes, who shared second place entering the round, stumbled to a two- over 74. He shared fifth place with Nic Henning, who posted a final-round 70, at six-under-par 282.

Marc Cayeux, James Kingston, Craig Lile, Thomas Aiken and Barry Painting shared seventh place one stroke further back at minus-five.

Ashleigh Simon, the first woman to play in a men's event in South African Tour history, closed with a seven-over 79 to finish 10 strokes worse than her nearest competitor. She finished at 28-over-par 316.

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