Luiten tops Jimenez for KLM Open title
Zandvoort, The Netherlands (Sports Network) - Local favorite Joost Luiten parred the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Miguel Angel Jimenez and win the KLM Open.
Luiten became the first Dutchman to win this tournament since 2003. He closed with a 2-under 68 to finish at 12-under-par 268. Luiten was joined there by Jimenez, who shot 3-under 67 in the final round.
The duo played alongside each other in the final threesome. Both stumbled to bogeys on No. 17 at Kennemer Golf & Country Club, then parred the last to force the extra session.
In the playoff, Jimenez came up short of the green with his approach. Luiten found the middle of the green with his second. After Jimenez chipped within seven feet, Luiten left his birdie effort three feet short.
Jimenez missed his par putt, but Luiten did not. The win was Luiten's second of the season and third of his career on the European Tour.
"I don't know what it means for Dutch golf, but I think it's pretty big," said Luiten. "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."
Gregory Havret and Ross Fisher both closed with 4-under 66s. They shared third place at 9-under-par 271 with three-time winner Simon Dyson (68) and Damien McGrane (69).
Julien Quesne closed with a 70 to take seventh at minus-8, while Soren Kjeldsen (66) was one shot back at 7-under 273.
Jimenez poured in three straight birdies from the second to briefly grab the lead at 12-under. Luiten answered with birdies at three and five to join the Spaniard atop the leaderboard.
At the sixth, Jimenez rolled in another birdie try to again move one clear. He parred six in a row from the seventh to remain at 13-under, while Luiten ran off six straight pars from the sixth.
"Miguel was playing great, especially on the front nine when he started with four birdies in six holes and I was struggling a little bit," said Luiten. "I made a few mistakes and although I saved par each time, I thought to just hang in there until the back nine and hopefully I can make a move there and that happened."
Luiten birdied the 12th to tie things up, but the 13th was nearly his downfall. Luiten stumbled to a bogey, while Jimenez birdied the hole for the third time this week for a two-shot swing.
However, Luiten bounced right back with a 5-foot birdie putt on the 14th. Jimenez then dropped a shot on No. 15 to create a tie at minus-13. They both bogeyed the 17th and parred the last to setup the playoff.
"Joost played very well and there had to be only one winner. The Dutch Open deserved the winner," Jimenez stated. "It was a tough day in the wind and not easy for anyone. I was happy to be in contention once more."
NOTES: Luiten earned 300,000 euros for his first playoff win ... Jimenez dropped to 3-3 on the European Tour in playoffs ... This was the 10th playoff this year on the European Tour ... The tour heads to Italy next week for the Italian Open, where Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano won by two shots last year.
09/15 11:42:18 ET