GOTHENBURG, Sweden: South African Erik van Rooyen birdied the final hole to grab his maiden European Tour title by beating Matthew Fitzpatrick by one shot at the Scandinavian Invitational on Sunday.
The 29-year-old, who has also posted five other top-10 finishes this season, led England’s Fitzpatrick by one heading into the final round in Gothenburg.
He found himself three clear in the closing stages, but made a bogey at the 17th after Fitzpatrick birdied to leave the tournament up for grabs.
Van Rooyen managed to match Fitzpatrick’s birdie at the par-five 18th, though, to hold on and continue an excellent year with his first win on a major tour. “It’s too good, it’s hard to describe,” he told europeantour.com.
“I was so nervous on 18. On 17 I was fine, I just didn’t hit that putt hard enough and then I asked (caddie) Alex, ‘what are we at?’ and he told me that Matt went birdie-birdie.
“I’ve been putting so well all day and to hole that one to win my first one is pretty cool.”
The world number 87 finished with a six-under-par 64 to end on 19-under overall.
“I’ve gone close a bunch of times and every time I’m in contention the question gets asked,” said van Rooyen. “I’m just so proud of myself… I’m over the moon.”
The 30th-ranked Fitzpatrick had to settle for second, with former British Open champion and home favourite Henrik Stenson finishing four strokes further back in a tie for third with van Rooyen’s compatriot Dean Burmester.
Australian Wade Ormsby, just one shot behind van Rooyen heading into the last round, endured a difficult day with a one-under 69 to slip into a tie for fifth.
But he did get a helping hand from the crowd when some fans moved a large boulder from in front of his ball, helping him to make a par. — AFP
Scandinavian Invitational final scores
(par 70/GBR & IRL unless stated):
261 – Erik van Rooyen (RSA) 65-68-64-64
262 – Matthew Fitzpatrick 64-65-69-64
266 – Henrik Stenson (SWE) 69-62-69-66, Dean Burmester (RSA) 66-72-62-66
267 – Sebastian Soderberg (SWE) 67-69-68-63, Sihwan Kim (USA) 66-68-68-65, Alexander Levy (FRA) 63-71-66-67, Jamie Donaldson 69-68-63-67, Wade Ormsby (AUS) 62-71-65-69
268 – Sam Horsfield 69-70-67-62, Matthieu Pavon (FRA) 74-66-64-64, Joakim Lagergren (SWE) 63-69-71-65, Andrew Johnston 70-70-63-65, Victor Perez (FRA) 68-65-69-66, Matthew Southgate 65-72-64-67
269 – Andrea Pavan (ITA) 74-64-67-64, Joachim B Hansen (DEN) 70-69-66-64, Gavin Green (MAL) 66-67-71-65, Zander Lombard (RSA) 70-68-64-67