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Arnaus wins dramatic play-off on home soil for maiden title 

Arnaus wins dramatic play-off on home soil for maiden title 

Adri Arnaus defeated Oliver Bekker in a six-hole play-off to win his first DP World Tour title in stunning fashion at the 2022 Catalunya Championship.

Adri Arnaus

The home favourite started the day seven shots off the lead and did not look a likely winner when he turned in 34, with Bekker and Laurie Canter doing battle at the top of the leaderboard at PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness.

But he came home in 31 with the help of an eagle on the 12th to set the target at 11 under and was left to watch Bekker, who still had a one-shot lead as Arnaus was signing his card, finish his round.

A three-putt from the South African on the 16th made it a tie as he signed for a 72 and Arnaus was heading to a third DP World Tour play-off in seven months after defeats at the 2021 Acciona Open de España presented by Madrid and March's MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood.

The five trips back up the last produced reasonably stress-free pars all-round but when they moved to the 17th for the sixth extra hole, Bekker missed the green and could not get up and down, allowing Arnaus to take the title with a par after putting his approach to six feet.

Canter finished two shots out of the play-off alongside fellow Englishman Richard McEvoy and Pole Adrian Meronk, with South African Hennie du Plessis and Italy's Edoardo Molinari at eight under.

Arnaus came into the week with five runner-up finishes on Tour - two of them on home soil - but now has a win in his 84th start and makes it back-to-back Spanish victories for the first time since 2017 after Pablo Larrazábal's triumph at last week's ISPS Handa Championship in Spain.

He also moves up to sixth on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex and could move into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.

"It’s a dream come true," he said. "I’ve been looking for this one for a while. To be able to come through here, where I practise in the summers, they take care of me so well. I know the course quite well. I’ve been able to play some really good golf and to do it here is special. 

"Sometimes I cheer them on (the spectators), sometimes they cheer me on. It’s a win that we all share together because I’m sure I would not be standing here without them, without my team.

"That’s a target of mine (getting inside the top 50). This year we had a target set. I feel like I belong there, so looking forward to moving up."

I love the fans so much, they came to support and from Monday to Sunday it's been an amazing week

Canter birdied the first from ten feet and then the second from 12 but Bekker kept his nose in front with a 15-footer of his own.

It looked like the lead might be extended when Canter found some trouble off the tee on the third but he remarkably holed out from 196 yards with his third for an eagle and a one-shot advantage.

He three-putted the fourth but kept the lead as Bekker also needed three blows from just off the green, although there was a tie when the 32-year-old could not get up and down from a tough position on the next.

Bekker then holed a 15-footer on the sixth and got up and down from the sand on the next to lead by two, although a bogey on the ninth meant his advantage was just one shot at the turn.

Canter missed the green with his second on the next and found a horrible lie, coming up short of the putting surface again, chipping on and needing two putts for a double-bogey which put Bekker three shots ahead.

Arnaus had made birdies on the first, seventh and tenth but was still a long way back before he holed from around 35 feet to eagle the 12th.

A two-putt birdie on the par-five 15th put him within two and when he put his tee-shot to 15 feet at the par-three 16th, the lead was back down to one.

A par-par finish saw the home favourite set the target and Canter joined him at 11 under with a birdie from 12 feet on the 14th and a two-putt gain on the next.

Bekker three-putted the 16th to make it a three-way tie but held his nerve to take it to the play-off, while a poor tee-shot led to a Canter double-bogey on the 17th as he carded a 72.

McEvoy picked up four shots in as many holes from the 12th in a 69, while Meronk was blemish free in a 70.

Du Plessis carded a 64 that was the lowest round of the week and Molinari signed for a level-par 72 to sit a shot ahead of Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and two clear of Dutchman Wil Besseling, Kiwi Ryan Fox, Italian Lorenzo Gagli and Finn Tapio Pulkkanen.