Home player Joost Luiten beat Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the KLM Open at Kennemer G&CC in The Netherlands.
Luiten is the first Dutch player to win his home title since Maarten Lafeber back in 2003. He also becomes the first golfer from Holland to win twice in a single season on the European Tour – he took the Austrian Open in June.
The Dutchman began the final day at Kennemer with a one-stroke lead over Jimenez, but the veteran Spaniard started fast with three straight birdies from the 2nd.
Jimenez might have moved further in front at the 12th, but he missed an incredibly short putt for birdie. He did, however, earn a two-shot cushion with a birdie at the 13th.
But Luiten wasn’t going to be brushed aside so easily. He played magnificent shots into both the 14th and 15th greens. The former resulted in a birdie and, although he missed his birdie effort on the 15th, a dropped shot by Jimenez meant the pair were tied at the top.
By that stage it was matchplay between the two as the other challengers had faded away, most notably three-time KLM Open winner Simon Dyson. The Englishman still had a chance after 14 holes but then scored double-bogey, bogey on the 15th and 16th holes to play himself out of contention.
Jimenez and Luiten halved the last three holes and both finished on a four-round total of 12-under-par. So they headed back to the 18th tee to settle the event in a sudden-death playoff.
Playing straight back into the teeth of a strong wind, Luiten went first and found the fairway. Jimenez pushed his drive into the right-hand rough. The Spaniard needed a fairway wood for his second and he did well to reach the fringe at the front right of the green. Luiten’s second was solidly struck to the heart of the putting surface.
The Spaniard putted first and raced his effort some six feet by the cup. Luiten played a cautious birdie putt and came up three feet shy. Jimenez faced a testing downhill, left to right putt for par and it lipped out on the left side. Luiten composed himself, rolled the putt home and threw his putter in the air in celebration as the home fans roared their approval.
“I don’t know what it means for Dutch golf,” he said. “But I think it’s pretty big. Maarten Lafeber won it in 2003 and that was huge, and to have another Dutch winner now I think it will help the game here and hopefully we can create more Dutch winners for this tournament.”
Luiten has moved to the top of the European Ryder Cup points list, with Jimenez in fourth spot.
Simon Dyson fought back to finish in a tie for third with Ross Fisher, Gregory Havret and Damien McGrane.
Kennemer G&CC, Zandvoort, The Netherlands
Sep 12-15, purse €1,800,000, par 70
1 Joost Luiten (Ned) 69 65 66 68 268 €300,000
2 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 64 67 70 67 268 €200,000
T3 Simon Dyson (Eng) 69 63 71 68 271 €85,500
T3 Ross Fisher (Eng) 69 68 68 66 271 €85,500
T3 Gregory Havret (Fra) 67 70 68 66 271 €85,500
T3 Damien McGrane (Ire) 65 70 67 69 271 €85,500
7 Julien Quesne (Fra) 67 65 70 70 272 €54,000
8 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 68 67 72 66 273 €45,000
T9 David Horsey (Eng) 71 66 70 67 274 €38,160
T9 Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 65 66 77 66 274 €38,160
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage