Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Pablo Martin celebrates with the trophy after winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club yesterday.
Pablo Martin celebrates with the trophy after winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club yesterday.
Pablo Martin celebrates with the trophy after winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club yesterday.

The Race to Dubai is on as Martin holds off Schwartzel

Pablo Martin created more European Tour history by winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

Pablo Martin created more European Tour history by winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. Two years after becoming the first amateur to win on the circuit, the 23-year-old Spaniard is now the only player to win on the European Tour both as an amateur and a professional. Martin, ranked 488th in the world at the start of the tournament, now ends 2009 on a high after beating home hope and former winner Charl Schwartzel by a single stroke in a tense finish.

With a closing three-under-par 69, the Malaga golfer held off the charging Schwartzel to win with a 17-under total. "It's an unbelievable feeling," he said. "I am so happy and there was so much emotion today." Martin was able to celebrate his victory with his sister. She had accompanied him on a trip that was part holiday to see the wildlife on the Kruger National Park adjoining Leopard Creek. While he had the ecstasy, there was agony for several others after the 541-yard 18th - one of the toughest finishing holes in golf - claimed yet more victims.

Welshman Sion Bebb, only one behind after an eagle on the 13th, crashed to a sextuple bogey 11 after tangling with trees and then dumping two balls in the water surrounding the green. That dropped him from fifth to 17th and alongside Ernie Els, who after starting the day tied for second shot a miserable 77. The former Open champion's round ended in a double-bogey seven on the hole where he took eight when two in front two years ago, while Ireland's Gareth Maybin also took seven when lying third and Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera had an eight to fall from fourth to eighth.

Martin was two ahead of Schwartzel on the tee and, despite a huge drive, chose to lay up short of the lake. Schwartzel, who had a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th before bogeying the 17th, had to do the same after almost hooking out of bounds, but then piled the pressure on by pitching close. Martin's third short was close to going over the green, but hung on and he two-putted for victory. It completed a remarkable recovery from a nightmare collapse in which he missed 20 out of 22 cuts. He finished last season 118th on the money list and only the leading 120 kept their cards.

Els is not playing this week's South African Open and so his run of at least one victory every year since 1990 has come to an endr. There have been two more amateur winners since Martin's breakthrough, but both came this year and neither New Zealander Danny Lee nor Irishman Shane Lowry have followed it up with a win in the paid ranks yet. Elsewhere, Australia's Robert Allenby continued his hot streak by winning his fourth Australian PGA championship by four shots yesterday.

Allenby, who took a one-stroke lead into the final round, shot a five-under 66 to post a 14-under total of 270 at the Hyatt Regency course in Queensland. * With agencies

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Players such as George Springer are a sign that things are starting to swing in the Houston Astros' favour. But more help is needed. Scott Halleran / AFP

Houston Astros are still earth-bound but help is on the way

As harbingers of a new era go, the Houston Astros could have done worse than misspelling their new phenom’s name on his major-league debut.

 Luis Suarez became the first Liverpool player to score 30 Premier League goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1987. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Sterling and Suarez inpire Liverpool to win over Norwich City

The win takes the Premier League table-toppers to 80 points from 35 games.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National