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Local hero Larrazábal wins in Tarragona

Local hero Larrazábal wins in Tarragona

Local hero Pablo Larrazábal claimed his seventh DP World Tour title - and his first on home soil - after reeling off five birdies in a row around the turn to win the 2022 ISPS Handa Championship in Spain by one shot.


The popular Spaniard began the final round at Infinitum's Lakes Course in a tie for sixth but catapulted himself into the lead with birdies at the fourth, seventh, ninth, tenth, 11th, 12th and 13th.

His only bogey came at the difficult 15th but he did not let that derail his challenge, responding with an outstanding birdie on the 16th and following that up with another gain at the last to sign for a 62 and set the clubhouse target at 15 under par.

But with the trio in the final group - Adrian Otaegui, Hennie du Plessis and Aaron Cockerill - all just two strokes behind Larrazábal with three holes still to complete, he faced an anxious wait to discover his fate.

He was able to celebrate his second victory in as many months, though, after his challengers could not force a play-off.

Fellow Spaniard Otaegui finished alone in second on 14 under after notching a birdie at the 18th, with Du Plessis and Cockerill another shot back in joint third.

Larrazábal went into the final round three shots off the lead after completing the last nine holes of his third round on Sunday morning.

He opened round four with three straight pars before firing a birdie from around 12 feet at the par-three fourth.

The 38-year-old picked up another shot on the short seventh after sending his tee-shot to tap-in range despite the awkward pin position.

The nerveless Spaniard then caught fire around the turn, reeling off birdies at the ninth, tenth and 11th to get within one shot of the lead.

And he refused to take his foot off the gas as he holed a stunning long-range birdie putt from the fringe at the 12th to grab a share of the lead on 13 under.

The birdie run continued with a fifth straight gain at the 13th as Larrazábal spun his approach to two feet to take the outright lead.

He came agonisingly close to holing another huge birdie effort on the 14th green but his putt slid just by.

A first bogey of the day came at the 15th as he failed to get up and down from the rough, and it was not long before he found himself in a four-way tie on 13 under alongside Otaegui, Du Plessis and Cockerill.

But last month's MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood winner Larrazábal bounced back with an unlikely birdie from around 40 feet at the 16th to lead on his own once more.

He came within a whisker of holing another enormous putt for birdie at the short 17th before treating the home crowds at the 18th to a closing gain to move two shots clear of the chasing pack.

And that proved enough to secure a stunning victory.

Larrazábal said: "What a day. But I knew that my golf was there.

"I couldn't make any putts the first three days but I told my girlfriend last night that she had to choose the clothing for the (winning) pictures!

“I knew that I had a low one in my bag and that's what I did. Today I holed putts and that was key. I mean, to shoot 62 in windy conditions with the flags out there, it was good.

"I'm glad I got the seventh (title) at home. I live one hour and 15 minutes up the road and it's very special to win in Spain, in front of a few friends of mine, and obviously in front of my girlfriend and my brother.

“So it's not going to be the most emotional win in my career but it's one of them.

"There were a lot of key moments today to keep that round going, and that hot stretch in the middle of the round was unbelievable.

“The golf I played on those five holes was probably the best golf in a long, long time.

“It's been tough, the last three years, the last maybe five, six years - I know I had a win three years ago.

“But when your golf is not there and then injuries, and then these 20-year-old kids are coming in and they're flying the ball 50, 60 yards over yours and you're not putting well, you're not chipping well. There are a lot of things coming into my mind.

“I thought a lot about not playing any more. And sometimes if you believe and you keep working hard, life gives you back and it's been a long road. For the trust and for the work I did, and for the patience, I think I really deserve it.”

Otaegui, who began the final round alongside Du Plessis and Cockerill at the summit, started brightly, birdieing the first, third and fifth to race to 13 under.

And although he created plenty of birdie chances and made some brilliant saves, Otaegui carded 12 straight pars to open the door for others.

He gave himself an eagle chance at the last, which would have forced a play-off, but was unable to convert and had to settle for a birdie and a bogey-free 66.

“It’s been a great day, no bogeys, holed a few par putts, played really well, lots of shots to the pin," said Otaegui.

"I think I did a great job and congratulations to Pablo - an amazing round. It was windy out there.

“I am really happy. Of course, over 72 holes there has been good, and not that good, shots but I think I did the right thing. 13 was a birdie hole but couldn’t make it.

“I need to have some rest now and get ready for next week. I came in playing very well and this week I just played well, so I’m enjoying myself a lot at the moment.”

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