The Hojgaard twins made history at the Italian Open, as they became the first brothers to win back to back Tour events.
Nicolai Hojgaard Makes History At Italian Open
A week after his identical twin, Rasmus, claimed victory at the Omega European Masters, Nicolai followed, birdieing the last hole to secure a one shot victory at the Italian Open.
It’s the first time in the history of the European Tour that brothers have won back-to-back events, with Hojgaard also claiming his first European Tour victory.
The 20-year-old had been two shots clear with five holes to play, before a rocky run, teamed with great finishes from Adrian Meronk and Tommy Fleetwood, had put Hojgaard in a share of the lead playing the last.
However, the young Dane would stick his approach shot to three-feet and roll in the putt to secure a slice of history on the European Tour.
“I was getting quite emotional when I holed that putt and I looked over and I could see Rasmus and my girlfriend and his girlfriend, but it’s been a perfect week to be honest.
“I got in with a late invite Monday afternoon, got down here Tuesday morning and to finish it off like this, especially after the week Rasmus won, is perfect,” said Hojgaard.
Admitting on Saturday that “Seeing Rasmus win was a big motivation,” and that “he was trying to follow in his steps a little bit,” Nicolai started his final round one shot clear of Fleetwood and Daniel Van Tonder.
Level par through seven, his lead was extended to two, but only two holes later it was back to one, with Poland’s, Meronk, going four-under in a three hole stretch to close the gap.
With a par save at the 13th, Hojgaard moved back to two ahead, and was still favourite to claim his first title.
But back-to-back bogies at the 14th and 15th dropped him back into a share of the lead, with Meronk setting the clubhouse target at 12-under-par.
He was soon joined by Tommy Fleetwood, who is looking to cement a Ryder Cup spot for Whistling Straits.
Playing the last, the Englishman produced a clutch birdie to join Meronk at the 12-under mark, and with Hojgaard back on the tee, it would be up to the Dane to spoil the party.
And that is exactly what he did, with his approach shot never leaving the flag, finishing three-foot from the pin. As his brother watched on, Hojgaard rolled in the concluding putt to much emotion.
“This is what I’ve dreamed off. This is what I’ve been working hard on all year and all my life. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable with the pace of my putting.
“I made some stupid mistakes on the back nine and then started thinking what’s going to happen now? but on 18, me and my caddie knew we had to make a four.
“I’ve been nervous many times before but I’ve never had anything like it. I could barely take my putter back, but you always try give yourself a chance to win and I gave myself a three-footer today which was perfect.”