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Golf | SA

George Coetzee © Gallo Images

Coetzee off to solid start



While the focus on Sunday's final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship was on whether Tiger Woods could win his first full field event in almost two years, South Africa's George Coetzee quietly finished tied for sixth on a score of 10 under par 278.

As it happened, the 14-time major champion, Woods lost out by three shots to Englishman Robert Rock who finished on 13 under par.

Coetzee's final round of 70 started slowly as he was one over par after four holes. He rallied by picking up three birdies, coming in without dropping a shot.

Coetzee had a stellar 2011 season on the European tour, finishing 26th on the moneylist, and in his first event managed another finish inside the first 10 to go with his seven top-tens last year.

The highlight of the week for Coetzee would have been his seven under 65 in the third round, where he finished with an eagle on the par five 18th. Coetzee, still in search of his first victory on the European tour, has been overshadowed in recent weeks by countryman Branden Grace.

Grace won two events in as many weeks, notching up wins at the Joburg Open and then the Volvo Golf Champions at the Links at Fancourt last week. Grace, however, could not replicate his form in his homeland as he missed the cut by two shots.

Keith Horne, fired a final round three under 69 to end one shot behind Coetzee on nine under par.

Horne, ranked 383rd in the world rankings, scored six birdies and three bogies on the fourth day to rise seven places on the leaderboard.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, along with James Kingston, ended in a share of 17th with a six under par total. Kingston made a run at the leaders in the third round with a five under par 67, but dropped 10 spots playing the last round in two over.

Jaco van Zyl rounded up the top-25 finishes for the South Africans as he completed the event in 24th spot on five under par.

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