European Tour

SA's Bezuidenhout cruises to Andalucia Masters win

2019-06-30 18:20
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Christiaan Bezuidenhout won the Andalucia Masters by six shots on Sunday to claim him a maiden European Tour victory.

The South African came into the final day at Real Club Valderrama with a five shot lead and while he saw that trimmed to three at one point, a closing 71 saw him finish at 10-under and lift the trophy.

The victory also secures Bezuidenhout a major Championship debut at the Open Championship, with the 25-year-old, Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera and local favourite Adri Arnaus qualifying as the top three players in the top 10 not already exempt.

Spaniards Eduardo de la Riva and Alvaro Quiros also finished in a five way tie at four-under but missed out due to sitting lower on the official world golf ranking, while world No 11 Jon Rahm is already exempt.

Bezuidenhout's victory completes a remarkable rise for a player who has had to overcome adversity since a young age.

According to the European Tour's official website, Bezuidenhout mistakenly drank rat poison at the age of two, an incident that led to him developing a stammer that caused him to suffer anxiety.

The beta blockers he took to combat his stammer led to him failing a doping test at the 2014 Amateur Championship and while his two-year ban was reduced to nine months after officials adjudged he had not been seeking to gain a competitive advantage, he missed out on representing his country at the Eisenhower Trophy.

Now five years on from those dark days, he is a European Tour winner in his 57th appearance and moves into the top ten of the Race to Dubai Rankings after also finishing second and third this season.

"I'm proud of myself hanging in there today," he said.

"I had a tough stretch in the middle of my round from five to seven there. I made a great save on eight which just kept the momentum on my side and I bounced back with three birdies in a row. That just settled me down nicely, I just had to keep on hitting greens and the rest will take care of itself.

"I was nervous. It's a tough golf course, anything can happen, especially those last three holes playing into the wind. I'm really pleased with the way I played and to finish it off is unbelievable."

Scores:

274 - Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA) (66-68-69-71)

280 - Adria Arnaus (ESP) (68-70-73-69), Eduardo De La Riva (ESP) (71-71-69-69), Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) (68-72-72-68), Alvaro Quiros (ESP) (70-68-76-66), Jon Rahm (ESP) (69-72-67-72)

281 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) (66-72-73-70)

282 - Thomas Bjorn (DEN) (71-73-67-71)

Selected:

282 - Gavin Green (MAS) (66-74-73-69), Bernd Ritthamer (GER) (71-72-69-70), Hideto Tanihara (JPN) (70-70-68-74)

 

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