European Tour

Luiten hangs on for narrow win

Joost Luiten (Gallo Images)
Joost Luiten (Gallo Images)

Newport - Dutchman Joost Luiten has won the Wales Open by one shot on Sunday, as he overcame a dreadful start and a nervous finish, to edge Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Ireland's Shane Lowry at Celtic Manor.

In the final build-up tournament before the Ryder Cup gets underway on Friday, Luiten picked up his fourth European Tour victory with a 72-hole tally of 14 under par.

Fleetwood was six under over his last five holes, including a magnificent eagle at the par four 15th to finish with a four under par 67 and a share of second place with Lowry, who birdied the final hole with a shot from a greenside bunker.

"It was tough, it was hard work down the last," said Luiten

"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.

Ryder Cup debutant Jamie Donaldson, birdied the last as the Welshman completed a 67 to finish 12 under par and a tie for fourth alongside Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, England's Eddie Pepperell, Scotland's Marc Warren and Edoardo Molinari of Italy.

Luiten came to the 18th tee with his one shot lead intact but a wild drive into the rough and a second shot that flew across the fairway left him with a delicate approach from deep grass.

The world number 48 found the edge of the green with a fine third shot and then got down with two putts from 70 feet on the par five finale to pocket the winner's cheque.

Ryder Cup bound Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood completed their last competitive rounds before next week's contest at Gleneagles, Bjorn shooting a 74 to finish one over par and Westwood struggling to a 76 and a score of two over for the tournament.

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, the fourth Ryder Cup player in the field, missed the cut.

A nervous start from Luiten, the overnight leader, threw the tournament wide open when he three-putted his opening hole before also bogeying the second to immediately drop two shots.

"You just try to settle down the first couple holes, and after that, I got back into my game. I started to hit greens, and I just didn't really make any putts in the middle part -- luckily we made a couple at the back," said the champion.

The 28-year-old held onto a share of the lead until Warren carded his fourth birdie of the day on the 11th to move to 13 under par, one ahead of Luiten, France's Gregory Havret and Molinari.

Luiten edged back in front when he two-putted the par-five 11th from long range for his first birdie of the day, and his two-shot overnight cushion was back in place when he holed from six feet for birdie on the next.

Colsaerts had set the clubhouse target on 12 under par after a closing 67, but the former Ryder Cup player was annoyed not to have birdied the par-five 18th, a hole he had eagled on the first two days.

Colsaerts was joined in the clubhouse lead by Donaldson, who birdied the last to complete a 67 and finish 12 under par, before Luiten composed himself to go back in front and close out the victory.

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