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Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters: The debrief

Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters: The debrief

Adrian Meronk celebrated his third DP World Tour title of the season at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters while Chase Hanna clinched his playing privileges for another year as time runs out for players to realise targets before the season draws to a close. 

Here is everything you need to know from another eventful week at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande.

Meronk wins in Andalucia

Adrian Meronk shot a closing 66 to finish one stroke ahead of joint third-round leader Matti Schmid and become the first three-time winner this season on the DP World Tour.

After two bogeys in his first three holes of the final round to drop seven shots off the lead, the Pole recovered from his slow start to make two front-nine eagles, including a hole-out from 121 yards.

He made four birdies on the back nine, including on the par-three 17th to take the lead at 16 under par which proved the winning mark as Schmid missed a 40-foot birdie putt on the final green to force a play-off.

“I didn’t get off to a hot start, I was trying to talk to myself, stay positive," Meronk said. "I was hitting good shots on the range in the morning so I knew I had the game.

With the victory, his fourth in a little over 15 months, Meronk climbs above Ryan Fox into third on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, thus becoming the top-ranked player in line to earn a PGA TOUR card at the end of the ongoing DP World Tour season.

Hanna secures 2024 DP World Tour card

The second of back-to-back events in Spain was the penultimate opportunity for players to earn points to secure their full playing rights for next season.

With just the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters to come this week, time is running out and pressure was rising on those looking to force their way inside the top 116 projected to earn their card via the Race to Dubai Rankings.

One such player was American Chase Hanna, who recovered from a sluggish start in the first round before producing his best when it mattered most on Sunday to card a flawless 66 on Sunday to finish in a tie for fourth.

That was his best finish all season, improving on a tie for fifth in South Africa at the back end of last year, to climb 40 places to 105th on the season-long standings.

“Been waiting for a round like today and it’s special to have it when it meant as much as it did today,” he said.

Tour cards, Nedbank and Dubai – who made big moves?

Schmid’s second place was enough to ensure the German, who is also a PGA TOUR member, retains his playing privileges for the 2024 season, climbing 84 places to 70th on the Race to Dubai.

England’s Richard Mansell followed his tie for sixth in Madrid last week with a third place in Sotogrande thanks to a final-round 68 to climb to 58th on the season-long rankings and boost his hopes of featuring at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Also on the cusp of forcing their way inside the top 50 are Jeff Winther and Nick Bachem after both enjoyed impressive showings in the Tour’s final event on European soil this season.

Dan Bradbury is in line for a first trip to the season finale in Dubai after climbing four spots to 47th, with the Englishman opting to miss this week’s coming event in a bid to recharge ahead of next month’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Meanwhile, European Challenge Tour graduate Jeong weon Ko made an important step towards securing his card for next season by finishing solo seventh to climb 17 places to 113th and inside the provisional cut off for retention of his DP World Tour membership.

Bjørn shows his class as full-time professional career draws to a close

In what was his final event under his exemption on the DP World Tour, Thomas Bjørn displayed all the qualities that underline why he will forever be regarded as one of European golf’s great players.

With three holes left in Friday’s second round, the Dane was three shots out of the cutline before an inspired hat-trick of birdies extended his full-time playing career by a further two days.

“I enjoy being out here, I enjoy being with these young guys, but everything comes to an end,” said Bjørn, who made his 600th DP World Tour appearance at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship earlier this month.

“As much as I will still play a few events here and there, I certainly won’t play a full schedule going forward. They’re just simply too good.”

In a career spanning three decades, Bjørn has won 15 titles on the DP World Tour, while he has played for and captained the European Ryder Cup side along with enjoying success on the Legends Tour since turning 50.

Clean-up at Sotogrande Beach

For the third year running, the tournament played its part in the DP World Tour’s Green Drive initiative with the return of the popular beach clean.

Rasmus Højgaard and Jorge Campillo joined students and teachers of the Sotogrande International School on Tuesday in collecting waste at Sotogrande Beach, with the initiative supported by the San Roque Council.

The aim behind the regular initiative which forms part of the Tour’s wider Golf for Good campaign is to engage and educate young people in local communities about plastic pollution and thus protecting local wildlife.

Campillo said: “We must all do our best to improve our environment, and it’s important to make kids aware that keeping beaches clean is good for everyone. I believe that Spain is doing a good job in keeping beaches clean, but the more we all do our bit, the better.”

The DP World Tour has signed up to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action, pledging to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and to be net zero carbon by 2040.

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