A maiden victory for Johnston, a strong showing from Sergio, another good week for Kjeldsen and a disappointing final day for Kaymer.
England’s Andrew Johnston claimed his maiden European Tour victory, holding off Joost Luiten and Sergio Garcia to win the Open de España at a testing Valderrama.
Johnston began the final day at Valderrama in a tie for second place with Joost Luiten and Martin Kaymer, one shot behind overnight leader Mike Lorenzo-Vera of France.
Kaymer made the early move, taking a two stroke lead with a birdie on the third. But Johnston rallied with birdies on the 7th and 8th holes. With Kaymer dropping a shot at the 7th, Luiten and Johnston led the way after the front nine.
Sergio Garcia made a fine move with a fourth round of 67. Despite a bogey on the final hole, the tournament host’s clubhouse total of three-over-par looked a strong one, with pars difficult to come by.
But both Johnston and Luiten held steady and it was the Englishman who struck the decisive blow with a birdie at the 16th. That was the difference between him and Luiten at the end, the 27-year-old from North Middlesex ending the tournament one clear on one-over-par.
4 Talking points from the Open de España
1 – This was a breakthrough week for England’s Andrew Johnston. He won twice on the Challenge Tour in 2014 and won the Road to Oman. He then played well through the 2015 season on the European Tour to finish 70th on the Race to Dubai. But this win is a significant step up for the 27-year-old.
“I’m pretty speechless, so happy with the way I’ve played,” he said. “I drove well, chipped and putted well and kept going, kept digging.”
With the win Johnston will move up some 100 places on the Official World Golf Ranking – into the top-130.
2 – The difficulty posed by the fabulous course at Valderrama was evidenced by the fact that this was the first regular European Tour event to be won with an over par score since Ian Woosnam’s Scottish Open triumph at Carnoustie in 1996. Only 25 players finished within 10 shots of par and the cut came at nine-over.
3 – Martin Kaymer had looked good to make a return to the winner’s circle after birdieing the 3rd hole, but he stumbled on the run for home with three bogeys in a back nine of 39. He dropped shots at the 17th and 18th holes to finish back in a tie for sixth. Tournament host Sergio Garcia had the round of the day with a 67 to climb into third spot.
4 – It was another good week for Soren Kjeldsen who proved, once again, how effective he is in challenging conditions. A superb final round of 68 saw him end the week in a tie for fourth. It followed his fine tied 7th place finish at The Masters last week.
Tips from Soren Kjeldsen:
Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation
Real Club Valderrama, San Roque, Spain
Purse €2,000,000, par 71
1 Andrew Johnston (Eng) 67 74 74 70 285 €333,330
2 Joost Luiten (Ned) 70 75 70 71 286 €222,220
3 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 74 71 75 67 287 €125,200
T4 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 71 77 72 68 288 €92,400
T4 James Morrison (Eng) 67 75 74 72 288 €92,400
T6 Ross Fisher (Eng) 70 74 72 73 289 €56,200
T6 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 69 75 71 74 289 €56,200
T6 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 73 70 71 75 289 €56,200
T6 Alex Noren (Swe) 75 75 68 71 289 €56,200
10 Craig Lee (Sco) 71 72 76 71 290 €40,000
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage