Sunday, 17 September 2017
Day Four Highlights - KLM Open

Romain Wattel landed his first European Tour title after a dramatic finish at the KLM Open in Spijk.

The Frenchman, who had recorded 25 top-ten finishes in his previous 186 events without tasting victory, was in control for much of the final round but survived a late scare when he missed the green with his approach to the last.

He successfully got up and down for par and a closing 69, which gave him a 15 under total.

That was one ahead of fast-finishing Canadian Austin Connelly, with Kiradech Aphibarnrat – Wattel’s main challenger for much of the day - finding water with his second to the 18th and dropping to 12 under with the subsequent double bogey.

Wattel’s victory was all the more remarkable as he had not finished higher than 24th previously this season and came into the week down at 130th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

"It feels amazing to win for the first time – I am so happy right now" - ​Romain Wattel

“I came to this tournament, I was playing poorly to be honest,” he said. “Last week I struggled with my game.

“I am happy with the way I played all week. It’s been a very nice weekend. 

“I’ve been putting really bad the last two years – I think I’m a really good putter but the last two years were tough for me. 

“I never thought about the score, I just tried to play my best. I was just trying to be as high as I could on the leaderboard but it was very tight. I just tried to play my own game.

“I have been in contention before and while I had not won before I knew what I had to do; I knew what I had to expect and thankfully this time it was my week. It feels amazing to win for the first time – I am so happy right now.”

 

Thailand’s Aphibarnrat held a one shot lead overnight but Wattel swiftly passed him with three birdies from close range in his first six holes.

French rookie Joël Stalter leapfrogged Wattel when he birdied the eighth and his compatriot’s par putt from eight feet lipped out.

Stalter’s challenge faded with three bogeys on the back nine but Wattel birdied the tenth and, although he bogeyed the next, a run of pars kept him in contention as others stumbled.

Aphibarnrat briefly led when he birdied the 14th, but he found water at the next and double bogeyed before suffering the same fate at the last as he attempted to put pressure on Wattel by reaching the green at the par five in two.

The 20 year old Connelly had six birdies in a closing 66 to finish second on 14 under, with Stalter, German Sebastian Heisele, English pair Eddie Pepperell and Lee Westwood and South Africans George Coetzee and Justin Walters all tied for third a shot further back.

 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WATTEL, RomainFRA18-15
2CONNELLY, AustinCAN18-14
T3PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-13
T3WALTERS, JustinRSA18-13
T3COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-13
T3HEISELE, SebastianGER18-13

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