Nicolas Vanhootegem became the toast of Belgium by triumphing at the Telenet Trophy at Royal Waterloo Golf Club. The 34 year old delighted the home crowd with a three shot victory that secured him the first prize of €20,800, and elevated him to fourth position on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
Maintaining the excellent form that took him to second place in Toulouse last week, Vanhootegem closed out his hugely impressive victory, the third Challenge Tour win of his career, with a fourth round of two under par 70 for a 17 under 271 aggregate – four strokes clear of Chile’s Felipe Aguilar.
“Everything feels divine right now,” said Vanhootegem, after being drenched in champagne by his fellow Belgian players on the 18th green.
“It was great to be a few strokes ahead with four holes to play because it meant I could enjoy my first win in five years.
“What can do you do in these moments apart from enjoy it? It’s why we play the game. After I holed my par putt on the 12th I felt a great release. Even on the 15th where it was a really difficult flag I went for the pin and took my chance.
“I said to myself ‘don’t let what happened last week happen again, take your chance’ and I managed to do that.
“And to have the Belgian guys run onto the 18th green with the champagne summed up everyone’s feelings, it was beautiful.”
Vanhootegem’s victory was the perfect end to a truly inspirational week for Belgian golf, with Didier De Vooght taking fourth place on ten under par 278, and the Royal Waterloo Golf Club’s Nicolas Colsaerts sharing eighth on seven under 281.
Jerome Theunis (five under), who is also attached to the magnificent Royal Waterloo, made it four Belgian players in the top 20 with his share of 17th place.
“It has been an amazing week for the Telenet Trophy and for Belgian Golf,” said De Vooght. “Lets’ hope we can move on and make this tournament bigger and stronger because it has a lot of potential if we can keep everything in place as we have had this week.
“Nicolas was so good this week, he deserves the victory – let’s hope he can keep going because he has everything to get back to the top level of this game. He was robbed in Toulouse last week but no-one was going to do that to him today. He could have shot 65 today because he lipped out so many times, but he didn’t need to because he played superbly for the whole tournament."
|4||DE VOOGHT, Didier||BEL||18||-10|
|T6||VAN WEERELT, Inder||NED||18||-8|