Dubai resident Adrian Otaegui all but sealed his place in the European Tour’s season ending DP World Tour Championship after securing his second European title by beating Frenchman Benjamin Herbert by two shots in the final of the inaugural Belgian Knockout.
The Spaniard, whose first European Tour win came at the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay in 2017, finished three shots off the lead after two days to make the knockout stages of the innovative tournament. Otaegui then came through six rounds of nine-hole knockout stroke play matches to write his name in the history books at Rinkven International Golf Club. The 25 year old picks up 195,830 Race to Dubai points for his victory and moves from 20th to 14th in the Race to Dubai Rankings on 715,505 points leaving him on the cusp of qualification for the European Tour’s season finale taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai from November 15-18.
“Many congratulations to Adrian on his second European Tour win at the Belgian Knockout,” said Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International, Dubai Office. “As a resident of Dubai, I’m sure he was desperate to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship and it looks like he has done it with time to spare. We wish Adrian all the best for the remainder of the season and look forward to welcoming him back to Jumeirah Golf Estates.”
Otaegui, whose triumph saw him move to a career best 77th in the Official World Golf Ranking, started the final with a bogey after going right off the tee at the first along with Herbert. The Frenchman bounced back immediately with a birdie on the next to take the lead but Otaegui moved back level at the fourth having gained a shot of his own. Both players made par on the fifth before Otaegui hit a purple patch and made birdie on three of the final four holes to win by two shots with three under par total.
“I'm very happy with the win and feel a lot more relaxed after the very tense last nine holes," said Otaegui. “I think we both played very good golf in the final so I'm really proud that I got through it and end a great week.
"I’m now going to focus on the big events coming up and try and see where my form takes me. Hopefully by September I will have qualified for The Ryder Cup team. That’s the aim.”
Meanwhile, Herbert, whose six Challenge Tour wins include the 2014 Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final, is yet to win a European Tour event but came closer than ever with a second-place finish in Belgium. The 31 year old receives 130,550 Race to Dubai points which sees him climb to 44th from 80th on 274,151 points in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
Scotland’s David Drysdale picked up third place after defeating Englishman James Heath in the third and fourth play-off match which gains him 62,600 points and moves him up to 116th from 210th in the Rankings on 97,740.
The top three in the Race to Dubai Rankings remain the same. American Patrick Reed leads the way with 2,216,000 points whilst Shubhankar Sharma of India sits in second on 1,079,898 points. Defending Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood completes the top three on 1,023,670 points
The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 15-18.