Charl Schwartzel defied both the weather and a chasing pack to record a three-shot victory in the Spanish Open at the Centro Nacional de Golf on the outskirts of Madrid. The 22-year-old shot a final-round 67, leaving India?s Jyoti Randhawa and home favourite Carlos Rodiles trailing by three and four shots respectively.
During a tournament that was heavily disrupted by rain, the leading players were forced to complete their third rounds on Sunday morning before embarking on their final 18. But the crowds were not dampened by the weather as home favourite Rodiles led by three from Schwartzel (pictured) at the start of the final round.
However, the pressure of not only claiming his maiden Tour title but also becoming the first Spanish winner since Sergio Garcia in 2002 started to weigh heavily on Rodiles and he had lost his lead to Randhawa by the start of the back nine.
The Indian, who was looking for his first Tour win, set the clubhouse target of 15 under par after a fine 67 but it was never quite enough. An eagle at the par-5 16th set Schwartzel on his way to collecting the £226,000 first prize.
The win moves Schwartzel into the world?s top 50 where he joins five other South Africans: Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Rory Sabbatini and Tim Clark.
Open de Espana final standings:
-18 Charl Schwartzel (SA)
-15 Jyoti Randhawa (IND)
-14 Carlos Rodiles (SPA)