Sunshine Tour

18-year old rookie claims dream win at Mauritius Open

Rasmus Hojgaard (Getty Images)
Rasmus Hojgaard (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Teenager Rasmus Hojgaard of Denmark gave a nerveless display in a tense sudden-death play-off on Sunday to win the Mauritius Open at the third hole after three players shared the lead after regulation play.

He made eagle on the third play-off hole, after Italy’s Renato Paratore had been eliminated at the first, and France’s Antoine Rozner was unable to match his distance and accuracy on the third attempt to find a winner in the tournament sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, the European Tour and the Asian Tour.

“I can’t put it into words right now,” said Hojgaard after he was drenched in champagne by fellow- Danes Jeff Winther and veteran Soren Kjeldsen. “I didn’t think I’d win this early. Even to be on the tour this young is something I didn’t think would happen.”

He became the third-youngest winner on the European Tour behind Matteo Manassero of Italy and New Zealand’s Danny Lee. “That’s cool,” he said. “I never thought about that. To win so early in my career is amazing, and I’m already looking forward to the next tournament.”

He started the final round in a hurry, with a birdie and an eagle in his opening two holes, but a pair of bogeys on the fourth and the fifth seemed set to put the skids on his charge to the top. But he maintained an equilibrium that would have been admirable in one much older, picking up birdies on the seventh, the 10th and the 18th to get himself into the play-off.

“I just tried to be patient and set up as many birdie chances as possible,” he said of his approach to the final round. “I knew I had to make a birdie on 18 in regulation to get into the play-off or an eagle to win. It was all about putting the drive in position, and from there on, I won’t say it’s simple, but you’ve got a good chance from there.”

Once he got into the play-off, things changed a bit for him. “I was obviously nervous,” he said, “but I had nothing to lose in the play-off, so it was driver all day. Then, for the approach shots, I just kept telling myself to believe in myself and get the number right.”

In the play-off, he made birdie-birdie-eagle on the par-five 18th to pull off the victory. “That was pretty cool,” he said.

One shot behind Rozner and Paratore was South Africa’s Louis de Jager who closed with a flawless eight-under 64. After he eagled the 14th, he was unable to capitalise on birdie opportunities, notably on the 16th and 17th, which would have put him in the conversation for the title. He was joined in a share of fourth by Frenchman Benjamin Hebert, Scot Grant Forrest and Thomas Detry of Belgium, whose bogey on 17 cost him dearly.

For Hojgaard, it is all about getting home to celebrate with family and friends. “I’m over the moon right now,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”

Scores:

269 - Rasmus Hojgaard 66 69 66 68

269 - Renato Paratore 69 67 66 67, Antoine Rozner 67 67 66 69

270 - Louis de Jager 72 65 69 64, Benjamin Hebert 66 68 70 66, Grant Forrest 66 71 67 66, Thomas Detry 67 66 67 70

271 - Robin Sciot-Siegrist 73 68 65 65

272 - Julien Guerrier 71 67 68 66, Oliver Bekker 69 70 66 67, Connor Syme 68 66 69 69, Sihwan Kim 67 67 67 71

273 - Thomas Pieters 74 66 67 66, Soren Kjeldsen 68 67 69 69, Ashun Wu 71 65 68 69, Brandon Stone 66 67 69 71

274 - Jyoti Randhawa 70 69 70 65, Matthieu Pavon 67 66 75 66, Thriston Lawrence 69 70 66 69, Calum Hill 68 64 68 74

275 - Garrick Higgo 70 67 71 67, Johannes Veerman 70 71 67 67, George Coetzee 71 70 66 68, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 67 68 68 72

276 - Marcel Siem 69 71 69 67

277 - Joel Sjoholm 71 66 75 65, Zander Lombard 67 71 73 66, Romain Langasque 66 74 71 66, Ashley Chesters 71 67 71 68, Lorenzo Gagli 71 67 70 69, Haydn Porteous 69 69 70 69, Liu Yanwei 70 70 68 69

278 - Justin Walters 74 67 69 68, Jaco Ahlers 67 72 69 70, Daniel van Tonder 70 71 67 70, Travis Smyth 70 66 71 71, Thomas Linard 72 68 67 71

279 - Ockie Strydom 68 72 72 67, Rhys Enoch 70 70 71 68, Neil Schietekat 70 68 71 70, Jean-Paul Strydom 69 69 70 71, Jack Singh Brar 69 71 68 71

280 - Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 70 71 71 68, Bryce Easton 72 64 75 69, John Catlin 70 69 72 69, David Law 68 71 71 70, Trevor Fisher Jnr 72 68 70 70, Lee Slattery 70 70 66 74

281 - Carlos Pigem 72 65 73 71, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez 70 67 72 72, Paul Lawrie 71 69 68 73

282 - Seungjae Maeng 72 69 72 69, JC Ritchie 70 68 71 73

283 - Udayan Mane 73 68 74 68, Keith Horne 67 71 74 71, Jake Higginbottom 70 70 72 71, Hennie Otto 70 68 73 72, Gregory Havret 70 71 70 72, Abhijit Chadha 69 70 71 73

284 - Jack Senior 69 71 72 72, Darren Fichardt 68 69 73 74, Richard Bland 70 71 69 74

285 - Keenan Davidse 70 71 74 70, Oliver Farr 72 68 73 72

286 - Ricardo Santos 67 74 74 71, Christiaan Basson 71 70 73 72

289 - Suttijet Kooratanapisan 71 70 75 73, Settee Prakongvech 74 67 74 74

290 - Doug McGuigan 73 68 74 75, Anthony Michael 74 64 75 77

291 - Viraj Madappa 71 70 75 75

292 - Estiaan Conradie 69 69 79 75

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