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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > Celtic Manor Wales Open > Round 4


Jeppe Huldahl gains maiden European Tour victory

Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl, ranked 377th in the world, completed a surprise win in the Wales Open on Sunday.

A faultless closing four-under-par 67 for a nine-under 275 four-round total by the player lying 188th on the European rankings coming into the event left Huldahl one stroke better than six-times tour winner Niclas Fasth of Sweden (66).

Huldahl, 26, shared the lead when the weather-affected third round was finished on Sunday morning and moved a shot ahead on his own by the turn before immediately coming under pressure from the experienced Fasth.

A chip-in eagle on the 11th helped Fasth catch Huldahl and he still shared the lead after 15 holes.

However, a combination of bogeys on 16 and 17 by the Swede and a composed finish by the Dane earned him the $485,000 first prize. His previous best finish had been tied 12th.

The European Tour’s ninth first-time winner of the season was not quite as unexpected as the Irish Open victory by amateur Shane Lowry last month but came close.

Making a re-appearance this season on full tour after an unsuccessful 2004 rookie year, Huldahl came to the Celtic Manor Twenty Ten course, venue for next year’s Ryder Cup, having missed his last three cuts and seven out of 13.

The best round on a Saturday bedevilled by rain and strong winds, a 68, set up Huldahl’s maiden win and final effort of four birdies and 14 pars clinched it.

He told reporters: “After Saturday I knew I had a chance to win and so tried to make the best of it.

“But I couldn’t put it (winning) out of my head all day and I was really nervous. I couldn’t feel my hands over the last three holes I was so nervous.

“When I found out I needed to par the last I felt a bit better, though”

Former Ryder Cup player Ignacio Garrido (69) also put Huldahl under pressure but a late double-bogey halted the Spaniard’s progress and he had to settle for third place a stroke behind Fasth.

The opposing Ryder Cup captains trying out the course their teams will play in 2010 again changed places on the scoreboard.

European skipper Colin Montgomerie’s closing 71 for a three-over-par total left him a stroke better than U.S. counterpart Corey Pavin (73).


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