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Sunday, 13 September 2015
Thomas Pieters  (Getty Images)
Thomas Pieters (Getty Images)

Thomas Pieters won the KLM Open by a single shot to claim his second European Tour title just two weeks after winning his first.

A play-off looked inevitable when overnight joint leader Lee Slattery had a four foot par putt at the last to match the clubhouse target of 19 under par set by Pieters.

But last week's M2M Russian Open champion missed to hand the Belgian his second victory.

Slattery finished in a share of second place alongside Eduardo de la Riva after the Spaniard mixed eight birdies with a bogey to finish on 18 under, with Fabrizio Zanotti another stroke back.

Pieters, who won his maiden European Tour title at the D+D REAL Czech Masters on August 30, started his final round at Kennemer Golf and Country Club two strokes behind overnight leaders Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Slattery, but fired four birdies on his front nine to move into contention.

After carding another birdie at the tenth, Pieters then missed his ten foot par putt at the 11th to drop back to 18 under before a birdie at the 13th and five further pars saw him add a closing 65 to his previous scores of 68, 66 and 62.

He said: "I’m really, really happy. I felt like I played better in the Czech Republic, but my short game was great this week and saved me many times. 

"I rolled in a couple of good ones early in the round and made a really good par save on the ninth which kept the round going."
Thomas Pieters

"I had chances coming in and I felt like I needed to make a couple more. I feel bad for Lee as he played great.

"It wasn’t comfortable watching him play the last couple of holes. I was wishing I’d made one more birdie. I’m really happy overall with the week and how I played and it’s nice going forward from here.

"It feels like this win was harder work than in Czech. I didn’t hit the ball as well. I had a week off in between and did some hard work. There’s plenty to work on, but I’m just happy that I won again so soon. 

"It’s special winning here, just down the road from home. It was great hearing all the Dutch fans cheering my name and getting behind me, so thanks to them. "Our two countries kind of stick together. I’m really happy that my family was here again, too."

Slattery, the winner of last week's M2M Russian Open, made a strong start to his fourth round, notching a birdie at the second before carding seven straight pars - including a clutch ten foot putt at the ninth - to reach the turn in 35.

The Englishman made further gains at the 12th and 14th to move to 19 under par before his untimely bogey at the last.

Slattery said: "I went into today with a great chance of winning, and I feel like I’ve done everything right really apart from pull that last putt a little bit left. 

"I played some great golf again and it’s given me a lot of confidence." 
Lee Slattery

"To play at the level I have done this week, with a lot of top players in the field, and nearly get the job done is really pleasing and encouraging. 

"To leave myself 75 feet to two-putt for a play-off is asking a lot – it was a lot of pressure. I didn’t hit a great putt on that second one, I’ve got to be honest, but it was probably the first time this week I’ve felt under pressure. Well done to Thomas, he’s a great player.

"It sets up everything now for the end of the year. I can start preparing for the bigger events at the end of the season. I’ve got a great feeling inside and I’ll be comforted by my family at home – we’ve got a big celebration next week for the win in Russia. A lot of great things have happened these last two weeks and I’ve just got to enjoy it."

De la Riva reached the turn in 34 on Sunday after carding three birdies and a bogey in his front nine.

The 33 year old made a stunning start to his back nine, picking up three shots in a row at the tenth, 11th and 12th holes before making further gains at the 14th and 17th to post a closing 63.

He said: "I played very well today – and all week actually. I’ve been very solid from tee to green and today I was very strong with the putter. I’m very happy to finish with a 63.

"I knew that I needed a very low round today, but I stuck to my game and just tried to take my chances when they came along. I saw the leaderboards but I was trying not to pay too much attention to them."

Eddie Pepperell and Morten Ørum Madsen finished in a tie for fifth on 16 under par, while Cabrera-Bello was among the group one further back on 15 under.

Meanwhile, American legend Tom Watson posted a third straight 68 on Sunday to finish the week on seven under par.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-19
T2DE LA RIVA, EduardoESP18-18
T2SLATTERY, LeeENG18-18
4ZANOTTI, FabrizioPAR18-17
T5PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-16
T5MADSEN, Morten ØrumDEN18-16

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