Tue, Sep 17, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Luiten ends decade-long drought at the KLM Open

AFP, ZANDVOORT, Netherlands

Dutchman Joost Luiten ended a decade-long home victory drought in capturing the KLM Open in a playoff in Zandvoort, Netherlands, on Sunday.

Luiten, 27, also captured a third European Tour victory and his second this season after both he and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez ended regulation play tied on 12-under in bright, but windy conditions.

Luiten then two-putted for par the first extra hole to deny Jimenez a second KLM Open title 19 years after his first, seconds after the Spaniard’s par putt had lipped out.

It was the first time in the 41-year history of the European Tour a Dutch-born player has won two events in a single season and also only the second Dutch-born golfer to win the KLM Open in a similar period.

The sponsors celebrated Luiten’s success with a fly past of a 1940s DC3 aircraft.

“Winning your own national Open for any player is like winning a major, and this is how this win feels,” Luiten said. “I went close a few years ago, but to win now feels just unbelievable and I think it won’t be [until] later tonight when it all sinks in. This win will be huge for Dutch golf, as it’s been 10 years since Maarten Lafeber won, so another Dutch winner will help the game in Holland, but all credit to Miguel as he’s a tough competitor, as he was playing really, really good with four birdies in his first six holes. Thankfully, I was able to hang in there and I was able to make my move on the back nine.”

Jimenez was looking to claim a second KLM Open title and the 49-year-old was also seeking to extend by 292 days his record as the oldest-ever European Tour winner.

Four players — Frenchman Gregory Havret (66), Ireland’s Damien McGrane (69), and English pair Ross Fisher (66) and Simon Dyson (68) — shared third place on nine-under.

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