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Muntz becomes first Dutchman to win in Europe

Muntz proudly displays the Qatar Masters trophy. Allsports.

Rolf Muntz became the first Dutchman to win a European Tour event and the sixth first-time winner of the year when he took the Qatar Masters title by five strokes on Sunday.

Muntz held off a stiff challenge from veteran Ian Woosnam to shoot a level-par 72 in the final round on another day of strong desert winds for a total eight-under-par 280, four better than Woosnam, who carded the day's best round with 68.

As the wind tore into the course for a fourth day, the top two players were the only ones to finish under par.

Argentine Eduardo Romero also coped well with the gusts to shoot a 69 and earn a share of third place -- nine behind -- with Australia's Stephen Leaney.

Muntz, who won $125,000, became the first man from the Netherlands to win a European title since the tour began in 1971.

He increased his six-shot overnight lead to nine strokes before he dropped three successive shots from the fifth while Woosnam burst into the frame to move only five behind.

When the Welshman birdied the last, the deficit was four, but Muntz then hit the final green in two and took two putts for his own birdie.

"I decided if I could manage level-par or better it should be enough after starting so far in front," said the 30-year-old Muntz.

"When Ian started to look good then I knew I had to concentrate hard. The bogeys make you think a bit but didn't worry me that much because I always had a good cushion through doing the hard work the previous days.

"I was quite relaxed. I only got to the course 30 minutes before my tee-off because when it is blowing like it has been today it's pointless practising much.

"I'm delighted with my win and so will Holland be with me, being one of the few Dutch players on the tour.

"People had been asking why I hadn't won when so much was expected of me. Well here's the answer!"

Muntz said the victory ranked equally with his 1990 British Amateur Championship win. His maiden title came in his seventh year as a professional.

"Jack Nicklaus has been my idol since I played the British Open with him in 1990 and he then invited me to his Memorial tournament.

"He advised me not to go to the States and try university. He was right because I was too old for the system, so I took that advice and had to do it my way.

"I think Jack will have a smile on his face when he hears about my win.

Woosnam's exhilarating finish was a boost for the 42-year-old Welshman, who has been changing his swing for the last eight months, ahead of the Players Championship, BellSouth Classic and then the Masters, which he won in 1991.

"That was very encouraging for the next few weeks in America," said Woosnam. "I only hit one bad shot and my work over the last eight months is all coming together because I've now had four seconds since last October."

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