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Winther keeps cool to land maiden title on Mallorca

Winther keeps cool to land maiden title on Mallorca

Jeff Winther carded a gritty final round of level par to win his first European Tour title at the 2021 Mallorca Golf Open.

Jeff Winther

The Dane had posted rounds of 62 on days one and three, sandwiching a 71 in tough conditions on Friday, and while the wind returned to Golf Santa Ponsa for the final 18 holes, Winther kept his cool.

The 33-year-old recorded a closing 70 to stay at 15 under and win by one shot from home favourites Pep Angles and Jorge Campillo and Swede Sebastian Soderberg - who finished second for the second week in a row.

Winther has carded three 62s - his lowest European Tour score - on Spanish islands on the 2021 Race to Dubai, with his two this week following his third round at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open.

He has shot five of his eight lowest European Tour rounds in Spain and the Balearic Islands will now forever loom large in his career as the place where he claimed his maiden win.

A 2015 European Challenge Tour graduate who came through the Qualifying School in 2016, 2017 and 2018, he has been inside the top 100 on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex the past two seasons and will now rise to 37th, as well as into the top 200 on the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.

Winther has had his family with him in Spain and he revealed that his six-year-old daughter Nora played a big part in his victory - by getting him released from the bathroom on Sunday morning.

"After breakfast I went to have a shower and my wife came in to use the bathroom as well," he said. "The door closed, and there's no lock, but we locked ourselves in. There's no lock on the door but the handle didn't work.

"Our little girl Nora, six years old, had to go and find guys at reception to break down the door. We were in there for 45 minutes, I think. I thought, 'jeez not today, not Sunday, you're leading the freaking event. Might not get there for your tee time'. What a morning.

It's not sinking in. I couldn't have a better week. I said at the start of the week that this was going to be like a holiday and apparently holidays work out for me

"I think it probably settled the nerves because I thought I might miss my tee time and thought I might not get out. The kids are in the living room, six and two years old, what can you do?  

"It's unbelievable (to win with his family here), it's not sinking in. I couldn't have a better week. I said at the start of the week that this was going to be like a holiday and apparently holidays work out for me."

Soderberg left himself a tap-in for birdie at the second to sit two behind overnight leader Winther and put his tee shot to 15 feet at the third to trim the advantage to one.

It looked like he would be in a share but Winther maintained the gap as he got up and down for a remarkable par - playing left handed from the side of a tree and then holing a 20 footer.

Soderberg did not have to wait long, however, playing another sublime tee shot on the seventh and holing from four feet to get to 15 under.

The leading duo were three ahead at the turn but Winther broke a run of nine pars with a rare birdie at the tenth, leaving himself ten feet on the par five which was playing 645 yards into the wind.

Soderberg hit back with an approach to three feet at the next but he three putted the 13th from distance to put Winther back into the lead.

A bogey at the 15th after failing to get up and down from the sand meant Soderberg was two behind where he found himself alongside Angles and Campillo.

The 28-year-old had birdied the fifth and sixth from inside ten feet and while he bogeyed the ninth, he picked up a shot on the 11th and holed a 30 footer on the 15th.

Campillo had to chip-in for par at the second in a ragged start and dropped a shot at the seventh but approaches to six feet on the 11th and 14th meant he still had a chance over the final three holes.

Soderberg found water off the tee at the 16th - just as he had on the 17th last week when leading by two - but holed a stunning long putt to save par and keep his own hopes alive, while Angles missed a golden birdie chance from five feet ahead at the 17th.

Winther missed a short par putt on the last for his first bogey of the weekend but a bogey was enough to keep him in front of Angles, who signed for 67, Soderberg, who carded a 68, and Campillo, who finished his week with a 69.

England's Laurie Canter fired the lowest round of the day with a 64 to finish at 12 under alongside home favourite Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez and make it three top fives in his last four events.

South African Bryce Easton, English pair Andrew Johnston and Jack Senior and Swede Niklas Lemke rounded out the top ten at ten under.

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