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Sunday, 25 March, 2001, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Fichardt strikes in Sao Paulo
Brett Rumford
Brett Rumford made up ground to finish tied for second
South African Darren Fichardt won his first European Tour title with a five-stroke victory in the Sao Paulo Brazil Open.

In an event reduced to 54 holes after electric storms delayed the first three days, Fichardt carded a closing 67 for an 18-under-par total of 195.

The 25-year-old collected a cheque for 78,242 and a valuable two-year exemption on the tour after missing out on his card at the qualifying school in November.


I just told myself to keep the ball on the fairway and hit the greens - the safe way worked
  Darren Fichardt
After a costly double-bogey seven on the eighth, Australia's Brett Rumford finished strongly with birdies at the last three holes to claim a share of second with Argentina's Jose Coceres and Sweden's Richard Johnson.

South African Nic Henning and France's Raphael Jacquelin finished a further shot back on 12 under.

Anthony Wall was the leading Briton in seventh place after a superb last round of 64, with countrymen Matthew Blackey, Neil Cheetham and Simon Hurley in a tie for eighth on 10 under.

Fichardt had not hit a ball since finishing his second round 61 on Friday.

The Pretorian recovered from a bogey on the second with four birdies in five holes from the fifth to maintain a comfortable lead.

Darren Fichardt
Fichardt extended his lead on the final day
That cushion was never seriously threatened and although Coceres reduced the gap to three with a birdie on the 12th, the Argentinian soon dropped back after a bogey at the 14th.

Fichardt made absolutely certain of victory by holing from 30 feet for a birdie on the 16th.


Leading scores after the third and final round of the Sao Paulo Brazilian Open
(par-71, Britain unless stated)

195 D Fichardt (South Africa) 67 61 67
200 R S.Johnson (Sweden) 68 67 65, J Coceres (Argentina) 68 64 68, B Rumford (Australia) 66 65 69
201 R Jacquelin (France) 66 70 65, N Henning (South Africa) 70 64 67
202 A Wall 71 67 64
203 S D.Hurley 69 69 65, C Hanell (Sweden) 68 65 70, N Cheetham 69 67 67, M Blackey 67 68 68
204 R Byrd (U.S.) 68 69 67
205 D Lee 68 68 69, G Rojas (Argentina) 67 68 70
206 M Florioli (Italy) 69 68 69, T Gogele (Germany) 70 67 69, T J Munoz (Spain) 71 66 69, K Ferrie 70 67 69, P Walton (Ireland) 69 66 71
207 W Bennett 70 68 69, P Fowler (Australia) 70 70 67, B Teilleria (France) 70 68 69, C Rodiles (Spain) 69 71 67, E Pesenti (Brazil) 71 69 67, D Borrego (Spain) 68 67 72, A Rocha (Brazil) 74 69 64
208 A Romero (Colombia) 70 69 69, P Nyman (Sweden) 65 73 70, T Levet (France) 67 71 70, J Berendt (Argentina) 75 66 67

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