Marshall’s encouraging start to the year continues

Andrew Marshall maintained his bright start to 2011 yesterday when he finished in a tie for 27th position in his latest European Tour event.

The Dereham professional was a model of consistency on the final two days of the Joburg Open in South Africa, recording rounds of 70 and 71 to finish with a five under par total of 279. His solid play was enough to earn him around �9,600, his second good pay day in the space of a fortnight after picking up over �10,000 for finishing tied 18th in the African Open in East London.

Marshall now finds himself in the heady heights of 36th in the Race to Dubai, although he will have to wait for an opportunity to build on his fine start as the European Tour heads for it's lucrative Gulf swing, starting in Abu Dhabi this week.

As a Challenge Tour player he is unlikely to get a look in for a month or so, with many of the Tour's big guns returning to action after their winter break – but he can still reflect on an encouraging start to the season.

Charl Schwartzel successfully completed the defence of his Joburg Open title after a four-under-par 67 in the final round helped him finish four shots clear of Garth Mulroy.

The 26-year-old, whose previous scores this week have been 68, an immaculate 61 and 69, failed to produce his best golf in round four but still did enough to clinch a sixth European Tour title with a final total of 265, 19 under.

Fellow South Africans Mulroy and Thomas Aiken, who were playing alongside Schwartzel, struggled on the par-71 east course of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, with the former finishing with a 71 and the latter concluding in 72.

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Jamie Elson was the highest placed Briton after he ended on 13 under overall and in fourth place. The Englishman, a former Walker Cup star, had been in contention all week but could only close with a level-par 71 in the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event.

Jean-Baptiste Gonnet from France finished with a one-over 72 and a 12-under total.