Marshall powers to top 20 finish in South Africa

Norfolk golfer Andrew Marshall completed an excellent start to 2011 yesterday when he finished in a tie for 18th position in the European Tour's Africa Open in East London.

Successive rounds of 69 at the weekend saw the Dereham professional finish with an 11 under par total of 281, good enough to take him up into the top 50 in the early Race to Dubai standings. Marshall, who improved his position with three birdies in the final four holes, picked up around �10,500 for his efforts – an excellent pay day for a man who will be playing most of his golf on the second tier Challenge Tour this season.

Meanwhile rising English star Chris Wood narrowly missed out on a maiden professional victory after Open champion Louis Oosthuizen won a three-man play-off to clinch the title. Oosthuizen holed from 15 feet for birdie on the first extra hole, the par-four 18th, to clinch a third European Tour win. Wood and Spain's Manuel Quiros could only manage pars after the trio had finished regulation play tied on 18 under par.

Wood shot to fame in 2008 when he was the top amateur at the Open held at Royal Birkdale where he finished fifth. He led for a large of part the afternoon and had to watch agonisingly as Quiros closed with three consecutive birdies to join him on 16-under 276 after a round of 69.

The 23-year-old from Bristol had also just about completed his round in 68 when Oosthuizen made eagle on the par-five 15th. The South African, who carded 70, failed to pick up any more shots over his last three holes, despite going close with a straightforward chip at the last that ended up two feet to the left.

Steven O'Hara carded the joint-best score of the final day, a seven-under 66 that helped him end a shot back on a 15-under aggregate, alongside defending champion Charl Schwartzel and Jaco Van Zyl.

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