Spain’s Pablo Martin captured the first European Tour event of the 2010 season, winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa by a single shot from Charl Schwartzel.

Martin created European Tour history, becoming the only player to win events on the circuit both as an amateur and as a professional. The 23-year-old ends 2009 on a high after starting the year terribly with seven straight missed cuts. He only narrowly retained his card for the 2010 season, finishing the ’09 race to Dubai in 118th spot.

The young Spaniard carried a two-stroke lead into the final round but. given his recent form and the host of top players including Ernie Els hot on his heels, few counted him as favourite with 18 holes to play.

But the Malaga golfer proved his doubters wrong, completing a solid final round of 69 to hold off a charging Charl Schwartzel. The South African birdied four of the last five holes to pile the pressure on Martin. But, the Spaniard was up to the challenge as he made a regulation par on the treacherous final hole to win by one.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Martin said. “I am so happy and there was so much emotion today.”

The par-5 18th once again showed its teeth during the final round. Sion Bebb of Wales took a closing 11 to drop from fifth to 17th place. Gareth Maybin finished with a seven while Michael Lorenzo-Vera closed with an eight.

Alfred Dunhill Championship
Leopard Creek CC, South Africa
Dec 10-13, purse €1,000,000, par 72

1    Pablo Martin (Esp)    68    63    71    69    271    €158,500
2    Charl Schwartzel (RSA)    67    69    68    68    272    €115,000
3    Anders Hansen (Den)    68    70    68    68    274    €69,200
T4    Gareth Maybin (NIR)    68    70    67    71    276    €38,825

T4    Robert Rock (Eng)    69    68    70    69    276    €38,825
T4    Richard Sterne (RSA)    72    66    72    66    276    €38,825
T4    Dale Whitnell (Eng)    70    68    72    66    276    €38,825
T8    Shiv Kapur (Ind)        68    71    68    70    277    €21,933
T8    Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 71 69    66    71    277    €21,933
T8    Damien McGrane (Ire)    67    70    68    72    277    €21,933

Note: Player scores in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only