Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters

Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters

Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters
Sotogrande, Spain
Winner: Christiaan Bezuidenhout

A remarkable display of ball-striking led Christiaan Bezuidenhout to his maiden victory on the European Tour. Valderrama always requires precision play and especially when the wind gets up. After an opening 66, it was a 68 on the second morning that took the 25-year-old South African four clear of the field. Rounds of 69 and 71 over the weekend resulted in a winning margin of six.

Bezuidenhout’s rise in the game follows an awful childhood experience when as a two-year-old he mistakenly drank rat poison from an old Coke can. Although he recovered, he was left with a stammer and anxiety issues, for which he took beta blockers. This caused a failed drugs test at the 2014 Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush. A nine-month ban followed, but this victory sent him back to Portrush to play in the 2019 Open. Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Adri Arnaus also qualified for the Open after sharing second place with Eduardo de la Riva, Alvaro Quiros and Jon Rahm. Sergio Garcia, tournament host and winner for the last three editions, finished seventh, his 14th top-10 in 15 appearances at Valderrama.

It was not plain sailing for Bezuidenhout on the final day, even after birdieing the first two holes to go seven clear. He bogeyed four holes out of five and Rahm was only three behind, but the Spaniard lost ground with a bogey at the 10th and a double at the 12th, while the South African rallied with three birdies in a row from the ninth.

“I’m proud of myself for hanging in there,” Bezuidenhout said. “I had a tough stretch in the middle of my round. I was nervous. It’s a tough golf course, anything can happen, especially those last three holes playing into the wind. To finish it off is unbelievable.”


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