Local boy Joost Luiten seals Dutch title with brilliant 63

Local favourite Joost Luiten won the KLM Open for the second time after a brilliant course-record equalling 63 at The Dutch in Spijk.

Bernd Wiesberger, left, and Byeong-hun An spray champagne on Joost Luiten of the Netherlands after his KLM Open victory. Picture: Getty
Bernd Wiesberger, left, and Byeong-hun An spray champagne on Joost Luiten of the Netherlands after his KLM Open victory. Picture: Getty

The 30-year-old entered the final day three shots behind overnight leader Scott Hend but, while the Australian stumbled to a closing 73, Luiten fired ten birdies and two bogeys to get to 19 under and secure a three-shot 
victory over Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger.

Hend had still held the lead after eight holes but two 
double bogeys after finding the water saw his chances evaporate as the tournament developed into a straight shootout between Luiten and Wiesbeger.

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Luiten held a two-shot lead after birdieing the tenth and 11th but a brilliant up-and-down on the 15th moved Wiesberger ahead in a nip-and-tuck contest.

A first bogey of the day on the 17th stalled the 30-year-old’s momentum, however, and three birdies in his last five holes gave 2013 champion Luiten an eventually comfortable victory.

“The first one was special but this one is very special,” he said. “To have the Dutch people behind me all week and to be able to stand here with the trophy in my hands is very special.

“It was one of those days where everything I looked at went in the hole. People talk about the zone and I think I was in it today. I missed one shot when I went in the water on 13 but besides that I didn’t do much wrong.

“These are the kind of days that make it all worth getting out of bed for.”

South Korea’s Byeong-hun An closed with a 65 to sit at 13 under, a shot clear of Hend, English duo Ben Evans and David Horsey, and Spaniard Alejandro Canizares. Chris Hanson was in the group at 11 under, a shot clear of fellow Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Simon Khan, and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson. Meanwhile, In-Kyung Kim saved her best until last as she strolled to a five-shot victory in the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters at Golf Club Hubbelrath in Germany.

One behind overnight, the 28-year-old South Korean closed with a bogey-free nine-under 63 – the best round of the week – to finish at 17-under par.

The world No 75 earned her second win in three appearances in the Ladies European Tour’s showcase event, albeit at two different venues. She previously won the title in 2014 at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England where she also shot a 63, in the third round.

Kim, pictured, said: “It’s a totally different feeling because then we played in England and now we’re playing in Germany. There is such a big Korean community in Germany because after the war a lot of people came for work and stayed here. It means a lot to be the only Korean in the field, so I wanted to play well, but you cannot force golf; it’s four rounds.” This was Kim’s sixth career victory, and third on the Ladies European Tour, after her win in the 2009 Dubai Ladies Masters. She now intends to take up LET membership with a winner’s exemption category. Belen Mozo, of Spain, carded a 69 to finish second, with the highlight of her final round a hole-in-one at the 13th.

Home heroine Sandra Gal tied for third with Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth, while South African Lee-Anne Pace was fifth and the 2015 champion Beth Allen of the United States was joint sixth with Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom.