Spain’s Adrian Otaegui put himself in prime position to secure a place in the European Tour’s season-ending grand finale in Dubai with a stunning come-from-behind win over home favourite Marcel Siem at the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play in Germany.
The 24-year-old Dubai-resident defeated Siem 2 and 1 in the final match of the event to win his first European Tour title, claiming 171,000 points to move from 58th to 41st place in the European Tour's Race to Dubai rankings.
The result sees his season tally swell to 581,167 points, which puts him on the cusp of a debut berth in DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.
“I’m very happy to get my first win on the European Tour,” said Otaegui. “I’m now so close to qualifying for the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates for this year’s Race to Dubai. I have come close to winning over the last few weeks and this victory puts me in a good position on the Race to Dubai rankings which makes it easier to qualify over the next few tournaments.
“I live in Dubai so to play the Earth course at Jumeriah Golf Estates will be a perfect way to end my season. I still have some work to do but I do have some good events coming up including the remaining Rolex Series events. So it should be a fun few tournaments coming up.”
Nick Tarratt, Director of the European Tour International Dubai office, said: “We congratulate Adrian on his maiden European Tour win and we hope to welcome him to the DP World Tour Championship November for the first time. Adrian is a big supporter of Jumeirah Golf Estates and its European Tour Performance Institute (ETPI), where he regularly visits to work on his game, so it would be wonderful to see him remain in the top 60 of the Race to Dubai in order to secure his spot in our season-ending tournament.”
After crushing his fellow countryman Alejandro Canizares 6 and 5 in the semi-finals at the Golf Resort Bad Griesbach in Germany, Otaegui was three down at the turn and two down with five holes to play against Siem in the final match.
However a run of three birdies in the closing stretch saw him eventually snatch a thrilling 2 and 1 victory.
"It's very, very special to have my first European Tour victory here at the Paul Lawrie,” said Otaegui, who came into the week on the back of four consecutive top-20 finishes.
"The way I played the back nine being three down after nine holes, I played good golf. I was very, very focused, I knew I could do it and the way I finished was just the perfect finish to the week.
"I've been playing very well the whole week. I've made a few mistakes as everybody does. I was very solid the whole week and I ended up with the trophy. It's a big combination of things, getting some confidence, knowing I can do it well."
Meanwhile Marcel Siem’s runner-up finish at the Paul Lawrie Match Play earned him a healthy tally of 116,500 points. He now leapfrogs from 125th to 87th in the Race to Dubai rankings with a season tally of 281,754. The German is now only a few good finishes away from securing his place in November’s season finale.
Sweden’s Johan Carlsson closed out his consolation match over Alejandro Canizares 3 and 2 to secure third place and take home 60,798 points, moving him from 109th to 92nd spot in the rankings.
Another man who improved his chances of making the season finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates was England’s Robert Rock. He jumped from 104th to 91st in the Race to Dubai rankings after making it to the quarterfinals at the Paul Lawrie Match Play.
Both him and Carlsson will know that a strong finish to the season could well see them book their tickets to Dubai in November.
The European Tour was also in the South Pacific this week for the Fiji International where Jason Norris of Australia secured his maiden Tour triumph. He carded a final-round 67 to close out a four-stroke victory and earn 166,979 points to advance to 129th in the Race to Dubai rankings.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood remains at the head of the Rankings with 3,771,122
points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,761,857.
Click here for the full 2017 Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex