The 32 year old’s wife was seriously ill in April – he had to leave the Masters to be by her side – and he lost an uncle, while on the course he was beaten in a play-off for The Open Championship in July.
But, having taken a one shot lead into the last round at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, he produced a wonderful back nine to hold off World Number Seven Henrik Stenson and win by six strokes with a 19 under par total, afterwards saying the US$1.25million (A$1.7 million) first prize will help pay for his new house in Australia.
“Golf’s a lot easier when you don't have to make up lost ground, especially on this golf course where there's trouble everywhere," said the winner. “I was really happy to not have too many bogeys. I definitely found out where the trouble was in the practice round.
“I knew it was going to be a really tough day, I knew I had to play well. Henrik is an awesome player and I knew he’d make me earn it, which he did. I'm really pleased that I could play as well as I did and have a little bit of a buffer there at the end.
“I’m pretty happy to have this year over, to be honest. Audrey got very sick and I lost an uncle who I was very close to. This tops off what was otherwise not a great year. Three weeks ago we moved into a new house, so this will help pay for that.”
Stenson, who was bed-bound with a virus in the build-up to the event, closed with a level par 72, while Englishman Chris Wood rose into third place with a 68.
Steven Bowditch ended a roller coaster but successful season when he finished last in the thirty player field.
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