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In a rollercoaster final round, the Spaniard mixed six birdies and an eagle with three bogeys for a five-under 67, with the trio finishing tied on 22-under after an enthralling day of action.
But it would be Larrazabal who would prevail at the second extra hole, his short birdie putt catching just enough of the right edge to secure his second win on South African soil in style.
"You guys are fantastic to me," said Larrazabal, referencing the support he received throughout the four days. "Since the first time I stepped into this country in December 2007 I realised that this country has something very, very special and it's you - the people."
He also paid tribute to his long-time caddie, who missed out on his last victory at Leopard Creek, adding: "He has been on the bag for six years and the one week he didn't come was here in South Africa at Leopard Creek.
"He had a week off and I had the trophy so I want to thank him for all these years and congratulate him."
Here's the winning moment:
Win number SIX for @plarrazabal 👏🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆#MyGolfLifeOpen pic.twitter.com/ogO4ceXrNzMarch 13, 2022
Larrazabal began the final round two behind overnight leader Hennie du Plessis, but a charging start - three birdies in his first five - was enough to take the outright lead.
A 40-foot eagle putt on the 10th opened up a two-stroke advantage for the 38-year-old but it wouldn't last long. With Smith making moves in the game ahead, a dropped shot on the 11th meant it was honours even with seven holes to play.
Three birdies in four restored his slender advantage, and with Smith in the clubhouse, two pars would have been enough to win outright. However, a costly bogey on the 17th opened the door to Arnaus in the final group.
Larrazabal could only match Smith with a closing par, meaning the pair faced a nervous wait as Arnaus sized up an 18-foot birdie putt for glory on the final green. To their relief, it slid by, and back to the 18th they went.
With the tournament on the line, all three hit excellent approach shots but it was Arnaus who failed to convert, leaving Smith and Larrazabal to continue. And when the Englishman could only muster a bogey the next time around, the Spaniard needed just one of the two putts at his disposal to secure the title with a birdie and move into the top ten of this season's Race to Dubai standings.
Elsewhere, home favourites George Coetzee and Richard Sterne finished fourth and fifth respectively, with Du Plessis a shot further back in a tie for sixth alongside Ross Fisher and Nacho Elvira.
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A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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