Pablo Larrazabal limps to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship
MALELANE Pablo Larrazabal Birdie the 18th hole to claim a one-shot victory in the European Tour Alfred Dunhill Championship on Sunday, after having passed a blister that left him struggling to walk and a horror in front of nine.
The final 75 round of Larrazabal in Leopard Creek Country Club gave him a total of eight tournaments below par, a shot ahead of Sweden Joel Sjoholm (69) in second.
However, the Spanish admitted that he woke up on Sunday believing he could not play because a blister left him fighting even to put on his shoes.
I couldn't walk or put on my shoe, I couldn't walk to the buggy or the green. I really fought all day, I have a big blister on the big toe, he said.
The Spaniard had a three-shot advantage when he entered the final round, but five bogeys and a double bogey on his front nine saw him return to the clubhouse with a score of 41 out of 41.
However, he pressed his game on the green in the back nine, and after the birdies on days 11, 15 and 16, he cut an iron less than five feet from the hole on the 18th to sink the winning putt.
It is his fifth title on tour, but first since 2015 when he lifted the BMW International Open.
I have really fought the last four years, but this is where I want to be, said Larrazabal, clearly emotional. I knew I had the last nine days throughout the week. Those five pairs, he had them. I kept fighting (to walk), but I put some heart. Being a winner again means a lot.
I thank my family and my wife. So many people who have trusted me over the years.
Winning in paradise is so special, this is a place that I really love. I will return until I can no longer play.
This year’s Alfred Dunhill Championship was the first-ever European Tour event to allow players to wear shorts due to the extreme heat in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, yet Larrazabal has been one of the few who has chosen to stay in long trousers.