Flying Dutchman Luiten soars to victory

15/09/2013 22:37:00
Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten made it a day of double Dutch delight with victory in the KLM Open after compatriot Daan Huizing won the Kharkov Superior Cup on The Challenge Tour.

Minutes after Huizing secured a two shot win in the Ukraine, Luiten beat Miguel Angel Jiménez on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off at Kennemer Golf Club to become the first home winner for a decade.

A par on the 18th was enough to give Luiten his third European Tour title and second of the season after Jiménez three-putted from long range.

Jiménez, already the oldest winner in European Tour history, began the day a shot behind playing partner Luiten but quickly moved into the lead courtesy of a hat-trick of birdies from the second.

The 49 year old, who broke his leg in a skiing accident shortly after his win in the Hong Kong Open aged 48 and 318 days last November, missed from two feet for a birdie on the 12th but soon enjoyed a two shot cushion when he birdied the next and Luiten bogeyed.

However, Luiten birdied the 14th after a superb approach to five feet and got back on level terms on the next when Jiménez failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

Both players bogeyed the 17th and parred the last to finish tied on 12 under par, Jiménez carding a 67 and Luiten a 68.

They returned to the 18th for the play-off and Jimenez needed a fairway wood for his second shot into a strong wind on the 400 yard par four, just finding the front edge of the green.

However, the 19-time European Tour winner charged his birdie attempt six feet past the hole and missed the return, leaving Luiten to hole from three feet for the win which brought a massive cheer from the packed galleries.

"Miguel was playing great, especially on the front nine when he started with four birdies in six holes and I was struggling a little bit," said Luiten, who won the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity in Austria earlier this season.

"I made a few mistakes and although I saved par each time I thought to just hang in there until the back nine and hopefully I can make a move there and that happened."

Luiten finished second to Ross Fisher at Kennemer in 2007 and added: "It was my first year and a great week but it definitely gave me the taste for more and to win it now I can't believe it yet, it's unbelievable. I think tonight it will hit me.

"I don't know what it means for Dutch golf but I think it's pretty big. Maarten Lafeber won it in 2003 and that was huge, and to have another Dutch winner now I think it will help the game here and hopefully we can create more Dutch winners for this tournament."

Jiménez, who was seeking his 13th victory since turning 40, said: "Joost played very well and there had to be only one winner. The Dutch Open deserved the winner.

"It was a tough day in the wind and not easy for anyone. I was happy to be in contention once more."

Three-time champion Simon Dyson finished three shots back in a share of third place alongside fellow Englishman Fisher, Ireland's Damien McGrane and France's Grégory Havret.