Paul Dunne has given himself a superb chance of entering the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after winning his maiden European Tour event at the British Masters.
The Irishman denied a charging Rory McIlroy to capture the title in Newcastle on Sunday with a spectacular final round of 61.
The 24-year-old laid the platform for a closing 18-hole effort of nine-under-par with three birdies and an eagle in his first six holes at the Close House course in northeast England.
That gave him a combined tournament total of 20 under-par and a win by three shots from McIlroy, with Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, who had led by a shot heading to the final day, posting a 66 for third place at 16-under par.
Four-time major winner McIlroy had moved to within a shot of Dunne in shooting 63 on Sunday for a total of 17-under.
But Dunne held his nerve brilliantly and answered McIlroy’s challenge with birdies over his closing two holes, including sensationally chipping-in from well off the green at the last.
Dunne’s victory, his first in 51 tour events, helped make amends for his defeat in a play-off for the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco earlier this year.
The result sees Dunne claim 562,500 points in the process to surge from 34th to 12th place in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
McIlroy, who finished second, picked up 374,996 points to move from 10th to sixth place.
However, it’s still Tommy Fleetwood who remains at the head of the rankings with 3,771,122 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third on 2,761,857.
Romain Wattel is one step closer to securing his place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, after winning his maiden European Tour event at the KLM Open.
The 26-year-old Frenchman, who is a Dubai resident and practices at Jumeirah Golf Estates European Tour Performance Institute, finished a shot ahead of Canada’s Austin Connelly on a lively final day at The Dutch in Spijk to claim 300,000 points and jump from 130th to 55th spot in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings. The win comes on the back of 25 top-ten finishes in his previous 186 events.
The result sees Wattel’s season tally swell to 483,348 points, placing him in prime position to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.
Nick Tarratt, Director of the European Tour International Dubai office, said: “We congratulate Romain on entering the winner’s circle on the European Tour for the very first time, continuing a fantastic run of Dubai based winners this season which has also included Alvaro Quiros and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
“With the Ryder Cup being played in France next year, it would be fantastic to see a Frenchman make it in to the European team. We wish Romain all the best in his quest to qualify for the season finale in November and for The Ryder Cup next year.”
Wattel came in to the final round of the KLM Open one shot behind Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat. However, a fiery start from the Frenchman which included three birdies in his first six holes saw him take the lead.
Once in front, he stayed in control for the majority of the final round and managed to survive a late scare when he missed the green with his approach to the last. However, a delightful up-and-down on the 72nd hole saw him sign for a closing round of 69 to end on 15 under par, one ahead of Connelly.
“I am happy with the way I played all week,” said Wattel, who has not finished higher than 24th in the Race to Dubai rankings. “It’s been a very nice weekend. I’ve been putting really bad the last two years – I think I’m a really good putter but the last two years were tough for me.
“I have been in contention before and while I had not won before I knew what I had to do; I knew what I had to expect and thankfully this time it was my week. It feels amazing to win for the first time – I am so happy right now.”
Connelly’s lone runner-up finish at the KLM Open earned him a healthy tally of 200,000 points. He now leapfrogs from 123rd to 71st place in the Race to Dubai rankings with a season tally of 407,890 points. The 20-year-old Canadian, who impressed at this year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, is now only a few good finishes away from securing his place in November’s season finale.
Meanwhile George Coetzee and Eddie Pepperell picked up a much-needed 73,500 points each as they finished tied for third place with Wattel’s fellow Dubai resident Sebastian Heisele, Lee Westwood, Justin Walters and Joel Salter to put themselves in a better position to break into the top 60 in the Race to Dubai Rankings. Coetzee now moves to 64th while Pepperell is in 75th spot.
Westwood, improved his rankings position one place from 26th to 25th, Heisel moves from 162nd to 131st, Walters from 146th to 122nd and Salter from 157th to 129th.
There was also movement on top of the Race to Dubai as Bernd Wiesberger’s top ten finish in the Netherlands saw him surpass Rory McIlroy for ninth spot in the rankings. The Austrian collected 33,876 points at the KLM Open to take his season tally to 1,475,239.
However, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood still remains at the head of the rankings with 3,771,122 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,761,857.
TOP 10 RACE TO DUBAI RANKINGS AFTER KLM OPEN
|4||Rafa CABRERA BELLO||(ESP)||2,124,686|
Click here for the full 2017 Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
Haydn Porteous took a giant step forward to securing his place in the season ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, with his second European Tour victory at the D+D REAL Czech Masters.
The 23-year-old South African finished two shots ahead of England’s Lee Slattery after a thrilling final day at the Albatross Golf Resort to claim 166,660 points and jump from 105th to 61st spot in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings.
The win marks Porteous’s first win on Tour since his maiden triumph last season at the Joburg Open.
The result sees his season tally swell to 425,551 points, placing him in prime position to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship, taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.
“To get my second European Tour win under the belt just feels amazing,” said Porteous, who brought his good form to the Czech Republic after securing his first top ten finish of the season last week at the Made In Denmark.
“To start to feel as if I belong, it’s a big step in the right direction and I need to just carry on doing what I’m doing.
“I’m trying to get myself within the top 60 to get into the DP World Tour Championship and move up the Race to Dubai rankings. I’ll be working as hard as I can to get into the last stretch of big tournaments.Hopefully I can do that – I just have to take it one tournament at a time.”
What a week!🍾 Thank you so much to everyone involved this week! The sponsors, volunteers, my sponsors @uagolf @callawaygolfeu @titleistukireland #ACPI, and most importantly friends and family! #albatrossgolfresort thank you for the awesome memories! See you next year!🎉 #mydna #kaizen #czechmasters #5thmajor
Porteous came in to the final round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters two shots adrift of overnight leader Slattery but erased the deficit in a hurry as he birdied his first two holes of the day.
In the end, the man from Johannesburg carded half a dozen birdies during his final round as he signed for a closing 69 to get to 13 under par and prevail over Slattery by two shots.
Slattery’s runner-up finish at the D+D REAL Czech Masters earned him a healthy tally of 111,110 points. He now leapfrogs from 107th to 74th place in the Race to Dubai Rankings with a season total of 425,551 points. The Englishman is now only a few good finishes away from securing his place in November’s season finale.
Meanwhile Tom Lewis and Pontus Widegren picked up a much-needed 56,300 points each as they finished tied for third place to put themselves in a position to attempt a late charge up the Race to Dubai rankings. Lewis moves to 130th while Widegren is now in 156th spot.
Another man who improved his chances of qualifying for the season finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates was England’s James Morrison. He jumped from 94th to 87th in the Race to Dubai rankings after finishing tied for fifth in the Czech Republic.
Eddie Pepperell also made strides up the Race to Dubai rankings with his tied fifth place finish. He’s now in 89th place after picking up 33,100 points to take his season tally to 313,578.
Both Pepperell and Morrison will be aiming for a strong finish to the season in order to book their tickets to Dubai in November.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood remains at the head of the rankings with 3,771,122 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,761,857.