Wednesday 15 August 2018

Otaegui proves a Knockout to claim second European title

Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey moved up to 22nd in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey moved up to 22nd in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Spain's Adrian Otaegui produced a red-hot finish to beat Frenchman Benjamin Hebert by two strokes in the final of the Belgian Knockout in Antwerp.

The 25-year-old Basque thrilled a huge crowd at Rinkven International, finishing with four birdies in his last five holes to win the innovative nine-hole stroke play knockout event and his second European Tour title.

One behind after two holes, he birdied the fourth to draw level, then birdied the sixth, seventh and eighth to shoot three-under to Herbert's one-under for his second European Tour win.

"I'm very happy, very relaxed now," said Otaegui whose maiden win also came in matchplay at last year's Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play.

"The last nine holes against Ben though were very tight. I think we both played very good golf, and I'm just very proud about my week."

Scot David Drysdale claimed third place when he beat England's James Heath in the third and fourth place play-off.

Action

While there were no Irish in action in Belgium, the four who made the weekend action in the Challenge Tour's Andalucía Costa del Sol Match Play 9 all lost on Saturday.

Liam Johnston claimed his first European Challenge Tour title by beating close friend and room-mate Grant Forrest by one hole in the final.

Dermot McElroy tied for 54th after he lost in the last 64 to Pole Adrian Meronk while Cormac Sharvin and Ruaidhri McGee fell in the last 32 to José Felipe Lima and Manuel Quiros respectively, finishing tied 20th.

Michael Hoey was beaten one up by Lima in the last 16 after earlier wins over Switzerland's Joel Girrbach and Spain's Borja Virto, eventually finishing tied ninth to move up to 22nd in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings.

Lima lost 3 and 2 in the quarter-finals to eventual winner Johnston, who went on to beat Italian Jacopo Vecchi Fasso in the semi-finals after the pair visited the ninth hole five times during the play-off.

Forrest beat Quiros in the quarter-finals and Welshman Stuart Manley 3 and 2 in the semis but he had to bow to his pal Johnston in the final.

"It's a dream come true, to be fair," Johnston said after his one-hole win.

"It was obviously tough as I've known Grant for a long time. But it's golf and you've just got to hope it works out in the end."

Irish Independent

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