Joost Luiten of Holland held on down the stretch to win the ISPS Handa Wales Open at The Celtic Manor Resort by a single shot from England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry of Ireland
Joost Luiten wins ISPS Handa Wales Open
Joost Luiten of Holland held on down the stretch to win the ISPS Handa Wales Open at The Celtic Manor Resort by a single shot from England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry of Ireland.
Luiten began the final round with a two-stroke lead, but he put himself under pressure from the outset, as he opened with two consecutive bogeys.
The Dutchman held on to a share of the lead though, and he maintained his place at the top of the leaderboard through the majority of Sunday’s play.
Standing on the 17th tee, Luiten was one stroke clear of Tommy Fleetwood. The young Englishman had produced a sterling finish, carding four birdies and an eagle over his final five holes, to post a clubhouse total of 13-under-par.
Luiten needed two pars to better that mark, but he had to get them the hard way. On the par-3 17th, he found the deep bunker short and right of the flag. From there he played a solid splash-shot, but was left with a testing downhill par putt of some seven feet. He judged the line perfectly and the ball dropped into the cup for a three.
With Lowry also only able to make a par at the penultimate hole, Luiten knew a par five at the 72nd would be enough to secure the title, unless Lowry could produce an eagle three.
Luiten appeared nervous as he stood up to strike his final tee shot and he flared his drive well to the right, into the thick rough close to the out-of-bounds.
It took some time to find the ball and, from a difficult spot, Luiten could only advance his second shot some 100 yards. That left him a testing third, over the water short of the green from 200 yards out. He played a good shot to the left side of the green but faced a long birdie putt.
Lowry’s second to the home hole found the greenside bunker and, although he played a great escape shot, he wasn’t able to hole out and that meant Luiten had two putts for the victory.
From over 50 feet, the Dutchman judged the pace perfectly and his ball rolled up to within inches of the hole. Lowry knocked his birdie putt in to join Tommy Fleetwood in a tie for second, before Luiten tapped his par-putt in to take his fourth European Tour title.
“It was tough, it was hard work down the last,” Luiten said. “I didn’t have the start I wanted with two bogeys and I just tried to hang in there and wait for my chances and made some nice birdies at the end and a par down the last was enough.”
Home favourite Jamie Donaldson carded a good final round of 67 to end the week in a tie for fourth. It was a great confidence booster for the Welshman who will make his Ryder Cup debut next week at Gleneagles.
“I’m happy the way I played over the last four or five weeks, building up to the Ryder Cup. I couldn’t have asked for any more, really,” he said.
ISPS Handa Wales Open
The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales
Sep 18-21, purse €2,286,000, par 71
1 Joost Luiten (Ned) 65 69 65 71 270 €375,780
T2 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 68 68 68 67 271 €195,831
T2 Shane Lowry (Ire) 68 65 68 70 271 €195,831
T4 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 66 68 71 67 272 €82,251
T4 Jamie Donaldson (Wal) 70 67 68 67 272 €82,251
T4 Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 68 74 63 67 272 €82,251
T4 Marc Warren (Sco) 70 67 67 68 272 €82,251
T4 Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 72 63 68 69 272 €82,251
T9 Robert Rock (Eng) 67 71 70 65 273 €46,695
T9 Andrea Pavan (Ita) 72 69 65 67 273 €46,695
T9 Romain Wattel (Fra) 69 72 64 68 273 €46,695
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage