DUTCHMAN Joost Luiten breathed a massive sigh of relief after overcoming a poor start and nervous finish to claim his fourth European Tour title in the ISPS Handa Wales Open on the weekend.
Luiten, who was fifth in the defence of his KLM Open title on home soil the previous week, saw his two shot overnight lead disappear when he bogeyed the first two holes of the final round at The Celtic Manor Resort.
But the 28 year old hit back with three birdies and one bogey on the back nine to card a closing 71 and finish 14 under par, one shot ahead of England’s Tommy Fleetwood (67) and Ireland’s Shane Lowry (70).
Ryder Cuppers taking out the positives
Ryder Cup debutant Jamie Donaldson will be reasonably pleased with his preparation for Gleneagles, carding a final round 67 to finish tied fourth alongside Nicolas Colsaerts, Eddie Pepperell, Marc Warren and Edoardo Molinari.
“I’m very pleased,” Donaldson said. “Celtic Manor is a tough golf course which doesn’t quite suit my eye. It’s been hard for me this week to keep focused and try and see the shots. If you take your foot off the pedal and there’s a lot of trouble about.
“I’m happy the way I played over the last four or five weeks, building up to the Ryder Cup. I couldn’t have asked for any more, really.”
European team-mates Thomas Björn and Lee Westwood will be hoping to improve momentum after carding closing rounds of 74 and 76 respectively. Westwood birdied the 16th and 18th to avoid an even worse score.
“I needed to play some competitive golf and I’ve done that,” the 41 year old Westwood said ahead of his ninth Ryder Cup. “I hit a few good shots (this week), not so good today, but I probably had one eye on next week. I don’t think the concentration and the focus was there.
“The Ryder Cup is very special, I am looking forward to getting there tonight and preparing for Friday when it starts.”
Stephen Gallacher, the fourth Ryder Cup player teeing up in Wales, had plenty of time to practice for his cup debut after missing the weekend cut.
Aussie Nathan Holman final round 65
Aussie golfer Nathan Holman fired a final round 6-under 65 to finish the best of his countrymen on 9-under tied for 17th.
It was a great effort by the 23 year old Melbournian, who only turned pro in October 2013 and is yet to record a professional win. Holman gained prominence last November when in only his fifth professional start he lead the Australian Masters at the halfway point at Royal Melbourne.Wales Open Results