Thursday 14 December 2017

Aiken dedicates Spanish victory to Seve

Bernie McGuire, in Barcelona

South African Thomas Aiken dedicated an emotional Spanish Open success and his very first European Tour victory to the memory of Seve Ballesteros.

The 27-year-old Aiken was never overtaken during a sombre weekend and won by two strokes with a final-round 70 for a 10-under-par tally on the El Prat course in Barcelona.

Dane Anders Hansen (70) was second on eight-under-par, with Glasgow's Scott Jamieson (71) and Barcelona favourite Pablo Larrazabal (71) sharing third on seven-under par.

Esker Hills' Shane Lowry shared 11th place in carding a final-round 72 for a four-under-par total and a result that has lifted him from 163rd to 117th on the Race to Dubai money list. Aiken, who has contested 104 Tour events, won on the 30th anniversary of Ballesteros' first of three Spanish Open titles.

"I have been waiting for this win for a long, long time," he said.

"It's been a bit of sad week from a golfing point of view with Seve passing away, so I definitely want to dedicate this win to him for being his home Open and him being the man that he was, and what he gave to golf, and what he gave to us as fellow players.

"So this one's for Seve, but I'm just ecstatic to get a win under my belt."

The Jo'burg golfer also said he's drawn much inspiration from the Major successes of good friends Louis Oosthuizen (British Open) and Charl Schwartzel (Masters).

Aiken, who was presented with a ¿500 five-kilogram Spanish ham, later posed in front of a large photo of Ballesteros, which was taken when the Spaniard won the 1984 British Open at St Andrews.

Lowry's final round was a mixed bag, with birdies at the second and 18th holes offset by bogeys at 12 and 16. Peter Lawrie is taking a fortnight off in anticipation of the birth of his fourth child.

The 2008 Spanish Open winner, who carded a final-round 72 for a two-under-par tally, indicated the baby is due the week of the flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"I've got two weeks to get the Lawrie household ready for this newest arrival and hopefully if the baby is born early, I'll play the PGA, but we'll just have to wait and see," he said.

And while Lawrie helps his wife prepare for their new arrival, Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin will walk down the aisle later this week.

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