Sunday, 13 May 2007

Joost Luiten of The Netherlands produced an incredible final round performance to storm to his maiden professional victory at the A.G.F. Allianz Golf Open de Toulouse.

The 21 year old, in his rookie season as a professional, confirmed his status as one of European golf’s hottest talents with a blistering eight under par 64 at the Golf de Toulouse-Seilh to take the title by a single stroke from Belgium’s Nicolas Vanhootegem with a 17 under par 271 aggregate score.

The final round began with 14 players within three strokes of third round leader Vanhootegem, but as the day progressed the tournament became a two horse race, with the Belgian putting in a valiant effort to try and catch the red hot Dutchman.

Luiten flew out of the blocks with three birdies in his first five holes and never looked back as he picked up shot after shot to establish himself as the runaway leader.

Vanhootegem, to his great credit, refused to go quietly and rallied brilliantly with five birdies in his last eleven holes but in the end his final round 67 was one stroke too many and allowed Luiten to take the €20,800 and move to third place on the Challenge Tour Rankings with season’s earnings of €32,802.

“I am so happy to have won for the first time as a professional and I played awesome today,” smiled Luiten, who won with a stunning birdie at the 207 yard par three 18th.

“It was an unbelievable day – as soon as I got to five under par at the turn I knew I had a chance and that I had to just keep going and try to keep making birdies.

“When I came to the last hole I knew that Nicolas had birdied the 17th and that if I could birdie the 18th he would have to do the same to take it to a play-off.

“I hit a good five iron to about four metres and made the putt, which was good enough to win, which is an incredible feeling.”

Luiten’s victory changes the landscape of his 2007 season. Before this week he was a Category 12 Member of the Challenge Tour, meaning that he would have had only limited starts on the Schedule.

Now, as a Category One Winner, Luiten can plan a full assault on the Rankings as he tried to catch current Number One, Edoardo Molinari of Italy.

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