A brilliant up and down on the 72nd hole of the Aa St Omer Open sealed Cesar Monasterio of Argentina’s maiden European Tour victory. Monasterio charged trough the field on the final day at the Aa St Omer Golf Club, posting a fourth round of four under par 67 to set a clubhouse lead that none of the overnight leaders could match.
Indeed, Henrik Nystrom of Sweden, who led by two going into the final round, endured a terrible start to his final round with a double bogey six, from which he never fully recovered.
It was Nystrom’s playing partner, Martin Maritz of South Africa, who matched Monasterio’s strong start to the day and looked the likely winner until the turn, when two poor chip shots saw him take a bogey six and visibly drained his confidence.
Moments before Maritz dropped that silly stroke on the par five ninth, Monasterio had stated his intentions by emerging from the chasing pack. The Argentine got off to a great start with a birdie at the second, but soon gave that shot back with a careless bogey on the fifth.
Seemingly incensed at dropping a stroke, the 42 year old, who won on the Challenge Tour last season, went on a great run over the next three holes, picking up a birdie on the sixth, an eagle three on the seventh and another birdie on the eighth to move alongside Maritz at the top of the leaderboard on ten under par.
As the leaders moved onto the back nine, Monasterio picked up another stroke on the par five 11th to move to 11 under, but bogeyed the 15th straightaway to remain tied with Maritz. The South African then dropped a shot on the 16th to fall behind Monasterio, just moments before the Argentine put his approach to the 18th in the greens side bunker.
With Maritz a shot behind, Monasterio, who had a difficult lie in the trap and not much green to work with, splashed out to ten feet and held his nerve to hole his par putt to take the title.
With his victory, Monasterio gains a potentially priceless exemption to The European Tour for the remainder of this season and the whole of 2007, as well as a first place prize of €66,660.
“I was having a good season, but now it has become a great season,” said Monasterio. “Now I am European Tour Member and I hope that this is only the beginning for me.
“I knew that I had to wait for Martin to putt on the 18th before I knew that I had won, but I didn’t think about the play-off. I kept the same confidence that I had had since the start of the week, and always felt that I could win here. I like the course here, and was confident all week.
“This win is so important for my future, and I feel like this is the real beginning on The European Tour for me.”
Nystrom would birdie the last to tie Maritz in second place on nine under par 275, with Juan Parron of Spain and the South African Jean Hugo sharing fourth place. But the day belonged to Monestario, who, upon realising he had won, was mobbed by his fellow countryman and draped in the Argentina flag as the celebrations began.