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Matthieu Pavon storms to wire-to-wire win in Madrid

Matthieu Pavon storms to wire-to-wire win in Madrid

Matthieu Pavon powered to a maiden DP World Tour title in wire-to-wire style as he won the acciona Open de España presented by Madrid by four shots in the Spanish capital.

The Frenchman arrived at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid with three runner-up finishes on both the European Challenge and DP World Tours but had never won a European Tour group event despite being an incredibly consistent performer over eight seasons.

One of those runner-up finishes was here 12 months ago but he always looked like going one better after an opening 63 and followed up with rounds of 68-66-64 to get to 23 under and claim an ultimately convincing victory.

South African Zander Lombard carded a bogey-free 64 to finish as the nearest challenger, one clear of England's Nathan Kimsey and two ahead of German Marcel Siem and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti.

Pavon claimed a maiden professional win on the Alps Tour in 2014 and followed up with another in 2015, the same year he earned a Challenge Tour card by reaching the final stage of the DP World Tour Qualifying School.

His single season on the Challenge Tour saw him finish sixth on the Road to Mallorca with the help of those second-places and since then, he has finished in the top 100 on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex in every year barring one.

He already had four top-tens in 2023 when he changed his driver and putter during Ryder Cup week as he finished second at the Open d'Arcachon on home soil.

Another followed at last week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and he now enters the winner's circle in his 185th DP World Tour appearance and in the city of his late grandfather's birth.

"He is up there," said Pavon as the tears began to flow after holing the winning putt. "I think he will be very proud of me.

"A part of my heart is here in Spain for sure. My grandfather was from here. I really thought about him on the course today and it was really hard to keep the tears inside, now I can let them go a little bit."

He added: "That was a long wait, seven years on the DP World Tour and I didn't have a win yet, hadn't won on the Challenge Tour before so that was a long wait but it really was worth it.

"We really stayed in the present moment and really focused: we tried to move on hole after hole, tried to hit fairways, tried to hit greens, make putts and managing my emotions the last two days was a very big accomplishment for me."

Starting the day with a two-shot lead, Pavon was three ahead when he put an excellent approach to four feet at the first and maintained that advantage with an up-and-down from the sand at the par-five fourth.

Siem had eagled the fourth with a 53-footer and was in that group three shots back as he added seven birdies and a bogey in his opening 14 holes.

Then came a moment of absolute magic as he holed out from 102 yards at the 15th to cut the gap to one and set up the tantalising prospect of a 59.

He had a chip for the magic number on the last and while he could not make it, a round of 61 was his lowest in 520 DP World Tour events by three shots.

Pavon, however, showed no signs of pressure despite all going on around him, holing a 20-footer from off the green after an excellent recovery at the sixth and making a two-putt birdie at the par-five next to lead by three at the turn.

He then found another gear, putting an approach to three feet at the tenth, holing from 39 feet at the 12th and leaving himself just six feet at the 13th to lead by six.

All three members of the final group were enjoying excellent rounds, with Kimsey making gains on the second, sixth, seventh and 14th and Lombard recording birdies on the first, fourth, fifth, eighth, 14th and 15th as the duo cut the lead to five.

Lombard also birdied the last after getting up and down from the sand, with Pavon and Kimsey parring their way home.

Zanotti was bogey-free with seven birdies in a 64 to sit a shot ahead of Frenchman Julien Guerrier and English pair Dan Bradbury and Richard Mansell, who carded rounds of 67, 66 and 65 respectively.

Defending champion Jon Rahm ended his week with a 64 to finish at 14 under alongside fellow Spaniard Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, French duo Romain Langasque and Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Scot Ewen Ferguson, Dane Marcus Helligkilde, Kiwi Daniel Hillier and Finn Kalle Samooja.

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