Luiten separates from pack to win Wales Open|
City of Newport, Wales (SportsNetwork.com) - In a final round where there
was once a five-way tie for first place, Joost Luiten was able to emerge from
the pack with an even-par 71 on Sunday to win the Wales Open by one shot.
Luiten, who entered the day with a 2-shot lead, finished the week at 14-under
270 at The Celtic Manor Resort. The win is Luiten's first of the season and
"After a poor summer, I wanted to finish the season well," said Luiten. I've
been playing well recently and the more you get up there, the better. This is
how you learn. You can't practice this on the range when you're coming down
the stretch in the top five and just the more you do it, the better it is."
Shane Lowry, the second-round leader, fired a final-round, 1-under 70 to
finish in a tie for second at 13-under 271 with Tommy Fleetwood (67).
Nicolas Colsaerts hung around all week, but he ended two shots back of Luiten
at 12-under 272 following a 67 on Sunday. He was joined there by Welshman and
European Ryder Cup team member Jamie Donaldson (67), Eddie Pepperell (67),
Marc Warren (68) and Edoardo Molinari (69).
Robert Rock (65), Andrea Pavan (67) and Romain Wattel (68) finished three
shots back at 11-under 273 and they tied for ninth.
Luiten did not get off to an ideal start as he bogeyed the first two holes to
fall back into a tie for first at minus-12 with Gregory Havret after Havret
birdied the third and Lowry tripped to a bogey at the first.
In the meantime, Warren made his third straight birdie from No. 4 and Lowry
got his dropped shot back with a gain of his own at the third to create a
four-way tie atop the leaderboard.
A Havret double-bogey on five dropped him back to minus-10, but he birdied No.
6 to get back to within one. A Lowry bogey at 11 dropped him back into a tie
with Havret at minus-11.
Molinari threw his name in the mix with his second birdie of the day on No.
10, getting him to 12-under with Warren and Luiten. A birdie on No. 9 got
Havret back even with the leaders, making it a four-way tie once again.
Warren took his first outright lead with a birdie on the par-5 11th, but a
double-bogey on 12 dropped him back to minus-11, one shot behind Luiten,
Molinari and Havret.
Then Colsaerts got in the mix. After making two birdies and two bogeys on the
front nine, Colsaerts made back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11. He later made
another pair of gains on 15 and 16 to get him into a tie for the lead. A
Warren birdie on the 13th had him even again with Luiten, Molinari, Havret and
With five players sitting atop the leaderboard, there were also five players
within one shot at 11-under.
Luiten came through with two huge birdies on 11 and 12 to take a 2-shot lead.
That lead was cut to one when Luiten bogeyed the 14th, but he extended it back
to two shots yet again when he birdied the 15th.
Fleetwood mounted a strong charge late with four birdies and an eagle on his
final five holes to get him into second at minus-13. Heading to the last hole
with a 1-shot lead, Luiten made par to secure his title, while Lowry made
birdie to join Fleetwood in second.
"It was tough, it was hard work down the last," Luiten said. "I didn't have
the start I wanted with two bogeys and I just tried to hang in there and wait
for my chances and made some nice birdies at the end and a par down the last
was luckily enough."
Despite being in the mix all day, Havret struggled down the stretch with a
double-bogey on 14 and a bogey on 16, putting him six shots back at minus-8 at
the end of his round. He shot a 3-over 74.
While Donaldson never grabbed even a share of the lead, his final event before
the Ryder Cup went well as he finished with six birdies and two bogeys in
Sunday's final round.
"I'm very pleased," Donaldson said. "Celtic Manor is a tough golf course which
doesn't quite suit my eye. It's been hard for me this week to keep focused and
try and see the shots. If you take your foot off the pedal and there's a lot
of trouble about. I'm happy the way I played over the last four or five weeks,
building up to the Ryder Cup. I couldn't have asked for any more, really."
NOTES: Luiten won 375,780 euros with this win ... This is Luiten's first win
since taking home the Lyoness Open and KLM Open titles last season ...
Donaldson made a run at it, but no Welshman has ever won the Wales Open ...
Luiten has now finished in the top 10 in his last three starts ... The Ryder
Cup takes place next week before the European Tour returns to full action in
two weeks at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
09/21 14:33:28 ET