A week after losing a lucky coin that had served him for ten years and adopting a new mascot, England’s David Lynn captured his maiden European Tour with a three stroke victory over Ireland’s Paul McGinley and Australian Richard Green in the KLM Open at Hilversumche Golf Club in The Netherlands.
Lynn shot a four under par 66 for a 16 under par total of 264, overhauling Richard Green with some key putts over the closing holes on a tough final day at Hilversum.
Victory earned him €200,000 and lifted him to 22nd in the Volvo Order of Merit, facts which made his win all the sweeter. It was his first title in 168 attempts and ends a run of near misses that has included two second places.
The 11th first time winner on The 2004 European Tour International Schedule, Lynn joins an illustrious group of players to have made this event their first Tour title including Seve Ballesteros.
“It feels absolutely awesome,” said Lynn. “I was getting a bit carried away coming up 17th. I had a bit of a tear in my eye and had to pull myself together. I thought I had to finish the job off here. To hit two shots into the last like and to know I had a few putts was fantastic.”
Key putts dropped throughout an enthralling afternoon, notably on the ninth for birdie and 16th for par. “YoThey went for me today,” added Lynn. “They could have gone the other way. There were a couple out there that Greeny could have made. They change the whole thing. I made those putts at crucial times and then hung on.”
Now, with two weeks break, his hardest decision will be whether to stick with his new lucky ball marker, a painted shilling that has been handed down from men who went to war, or change to a new one. The old coin which he had kept for ten years was lost in Sweden.
Lynn started the final round three adrift of overnight leader Green and it was the Austrlain left hander who got off to the perfect start, hitting his approach to a couple of feet for an opening birdie. But Lynn immediately started to reel him in. The four stroke lead was reduced with a birdie on the second and then Lynn moved another shot closer on the fifth when Green bogeyed.
A birdie at the seventh closed the gap to one and when Lynn picked up his third birdie at the ninth when his 35 foot putt shot down the hole at a rate of knots, he was level.
Both bogeyed the 12th but Lynn moved ahead for the first time with a birdie on the 14th, holing from four feet and when Green found a tough lie in the bunker on the 16th and was unable to save par, Lynn was two clear with the winning line in sight.
Throughout it all McGinley refused to go away, moving within one stroke of the lead with three birdies in the first five holes after the turn. But having got to five under for the round, his momentum was lost when he flew through the green on the 15th, perhaps his adrenaline getting the better of him and the resultant bogey effectively ended his title hopes.
A birdie on the last sealed an impressive five under par 65 but his 13 under par total was just too much. Nevertheless he picked up 104,225 valuable Ryder Cup Points and moved up to 14th in the European Ryder Cup Points List in his last minute sprint to the line.
“Today was a very difficult day,” said McGinley. “The wind was in a different direction. It was the windiest day we have had and the course was really tricky. I played fantastically well. I am certainly not going to dwell on a negative of hitting a really good shot on 15. I hit a really good shot. I’m chasing the tournament. I hit a beautiful shot right down the pin, got a massive bounce through the back and got a horrible lie. But overall it was a really good day.. I have got not complaints. I gave it my best shot and came up just short.”
Green, after his initial birdie, was unable to hold off Lynn’s charge and closed with a two over par 72 to match McGinley’s total. It was his third runners-up finish of the season following similar performances in the Open de France and Smurfit European Open and moved him up to tenth in the Volvo Order of Merit.
“It was a tough day and although I got off to a good start, things just didn’t go my way,” said Green. “But full credit to David, he played very well.”