T21 for McKibbin as Larrazábal claims ninth DP World Tour title

Mark McGowan

Pablo Larrazábal celebrates after holing the winning putt at the KLM Open (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

A sloppy closing nine holes cost Tom McKibbin a first DP World Top 10 as Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal boosted his Ryder Cup chances with his second win in as many months at the KLM Open at Holland’s Barnardus Golf.

Starting the day at -4, an early bogey was offset by three birdies in four holes as McKibbin moved to -6 for the tournament and a highest ever DP World Tour finish was on the horizon.

Missed birdie putts from eight and six feet stalled his momentum in the early stages of the back nine, before loose tee shots at 14 and 18 – the latter finding the water hazard that hugs the entire right side of the par-5 finishing hole – lead to bogeys on both as he fell back to -4 for the week and a tie for 21st overall.


Larrazábal saw his overnight lead evaporate in the early stages of Sunday’s fourth round but he recovered with a series of birdies to sit in a five-way tie at the top after 12 holes.

And he finished with a flourish, birdieing the 15th, 17th and 18th to sign for a closing 69 and finish the tournament on 13 under par.

Fellow Spaniard Adrian Otaegui finished alone in second on 11 under after finishing his final-round 70 with a birdie.Rasmus Højgaard and Deon Germishuys were then in a tie for third, one stroke further back.

Larrazábal went into the final round with a one-shot lead after Saturday’s spotless 67 but he made a double bogey at the second to slip from the summit.

He recovered brilliantly, though, holing monster birdie putts at the sixth and seventh to return to ten under and grab a share of the lead.

After missing the ninth green, Larrazábal surrendered a bogey there but got a bounce-back birdie from six feet on the tenth.

And he remained in a tie at the top until the 15th, where he produced a shot-of-the-day contender to access a tricky flag before knocking in his six-foot birdie attempt to lead on his own.

Larrazábal then extended his advantage to two strokes when he birdied the short 17th, having sent his tee-shot to around three feet.

And he saved his best for last, draining a 21-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to send the bumper crowd wild.

The win is Larrazábal’s first since he turned 40 earlier this month, and he hopes to emulate countryman Miguel Ángel Jiménez by enjoying continued success over the next decade.

He said: “It doesn’t matter how fast you run at the beginning, you have to run fast at the end to win the race.

“And that’s what I did. What a putt on the last. I tried to make two putts from 20 feet and suddenly I made it.

“I’m so proud of myself and so proud of my team. We struggled big time through Covid but here we are – four wins in the last 15 months. It means too much to me.

“Hopefully I do 20% of what Miguel did in his forties. This is the first win of 40.”


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