Andalucia Masters: Christiaan Bezhuidenhout wins by six strokes

Christiaan Bezuidenhout won the Andalucia Masters
Christiaan Bezuidenhout won the Andalucia Masters

Christiaan Bezuidenhout won the Andalucia Masters by six strokes on Sunday.

Leaderboard

-10 Bezouidenhout

-4 Quiros, Lorenzo-Vera, Arnaus, De La Riva, Rahm

-3 Garcia

Day four report

Christiaan Bezuidenhout will return to the scene of his lowest moment in golf in triumph after cruising to victory in the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama.

A closing 71 gave Bezuidenhout a six-shot win on one of the toughest courses in Europe and also secured a major debut in the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in three weeks' time.

It was while competing in the British Amateur at Portrush in 2014 that Bezuidenhout failed a drugs test due to taking beta blockers, medicine he had declared he was taking to help treat anxiety and a stutter he developed after accidentally drinking rat poison aged two.

An initial two-year ban was eventually reduced to nine months and Bezuidenhout marked his return to action by winning a mini-tour event in South Africa by seven shots before going on to gain his European Tour card via the qualifying school in 2017.

The 25-year-old finished second behind compatriot Justin Harding in the Qatar Masters earlier this season and arrived in Valderrama on the back of a tie for third in the BMW International Open in Munich.

Victory looked assured after he extended his overnight lead to seven shots thanks to birdies on the first two holes, but bogeys at four of the next five saw Bezuidenhout's lead cut to three before a hat-trick of birdies from the ninth effectively sealed the win.

Bezuidenhout, who was surprised by members of his family after holing out on the 18th, said: "It's great. I'm proud of myself for hanging in there today after a tough stretch in the middle of my round.

"I made a great save on eight which kept the momentum on my side and bounced back with three birdies in a row there and that just settled me down nicely.

"I was still nervous, it's a difficult course and anything can happen, especially on the last three holes, but I'm really pleased with the way I played and to finish it off is unbelievable."

World number 11 Jon Rahm finished in a tie for second alongside fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros, Eduardo De La Riva and Adri Arnaus, as well as France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera, with tournament host Sergio Garcia a shot further back.

Garcia, who was seeking a fourth straight win in the event, said: "It was a very solid week and you've got to be realistic. I feel like I played the best I've played all year and made maybe two putts all week.

"I still finished seventh and that shows how well I hit the ball and that's very positive. There's going to be other weeks where those putts that are burning the edges are going to drop and then it will be an amazing week."

Day three report

Christiaan Bezuidenhout extended his lead to five shots heading into the final round of the Andalucia Masters but home favourite Jon Rahm played his way into contention on day three at Valderrama.

South African Bezuidenhout carded a battling 69 to get to 10 under on one of Europe's most feared layouts as he looks for a first victory on the European Tour.

Ryder Cup star Rahm has six solo wins to his name worldwide and he finally seemed to get to grips with a course where he has struggled in the past, matching the lowest round of the day with a 67 to share second place alongside Japan's Hideto Tanihara.

Rahm turned in 32 with birdies on the fourth, sixth and eighth and then recovered from a bogey on the 15th with a birdie-birdie finish to set the clubhouse target.

Bezuidenhout was four ahead at that point after a single birdie on the second and he sandwiched a bogey on the 14th with further gains on the tenth and 16th to stretch his advantage.

"Going into Sunday with a five shot lead is definitely nice," he said. "Rahm is a great player, he's top 15 in the world and he's a legend in Spain so it will be quite an experience tomorrow."

Tanihara carded a 68 to sit two shots ahead of Belgian pair Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Detry, with tournament host Sergio Garcia and England's Steven Brown in the group eight shots off the lead.

Day two report

South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout will take a four-shot lead into the third round of the Andalucia Masters, but tournament host Sergio Garcia remains in contention for a fourth straight victory.

Bezuidenhout took advantage of the calmer morning conditions to add a 68 to his opening 66 to finish eight under par, with Garcia's 72 leaving him on four under alongside fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Adri Arnaus and Welshman Bradley Dredge.

"Most of all I just kept it in play nicely, which is the key thing here," Bezuidenhout said. "I'm driving it pretty well, so I was hitting quite a lot of fairways.

"A course like this you can score from the fairways and if you don't hit the fairways you're going to struggle. I prefer the tougher conditions, you've just got to face it and I'm just going to do the same over the weekend."

Garcia first won the Andalucia Masters in 2011 before the tournament dropped off the European Tour schedule for five years, and his victories in 2017 and 2018 mean the 39-year-old has recorded an incredible 13 top-10

finishes in 14 appearances at Valderrama.

The former Masters champion carded three birdies and four bogeys in his 72 and said: "I wouldn't say it was a bad round, it was very difficult this afternoon.

"The greens were very firm, it got quite windy. I just didn't really make any putts, but I felt like I played well under the conditions and 72 was the most I could shoot."

World number 11 Jon Rahm also shot 72 to lie seven shots off the lead and was frustrated with his performance.

"It's just a lot of stupid mistakes, as simple as that. It's just annoying," Rahm said. "It's not like I'm playing bad and it was not that difficult this morning, I'm just leaving shots out there when I shouldn't and it's costing me getting a real low round going."

Day one report

Sergio Garcia's love affair with Valderrama shows no signs of abating after the tournament host made a flawless start to his bid for a fourth straight win in the Andalucia Masters.

Garcia first claimed the title in 2011 before it dropped off the European Tour schedule for five years and he then won in both 2017 and 2018, when bad weather meant a 54-hole event and a Monday finish.

In total the former Masters champion has recorded an incredible 13 top-10 finishes in 14 appearances at Valderrama and a bogey-free 66 in Thursday's opening round left the 39-year-old just a shot off the lead held by France's Victor Perez.

"I love this place, there's no doubt about that," said Garcia, who has missed the cut in three of his last four starts and said he "looked like a 25-handicapper" during the recent US Open.

"Today was a great round, probably the best I've felt in quite a while. Even though the conditions were great - there wasn't much wind and this course is so pure - you still have to hit the shots in the right places and to be able to go bogey-free here it's always a treat.

"It (Valderrama) kind of has something that helps me. It was a great first round but it was just the first round, we have to keep building on that and we're looking forward to a good week. You've got to go one step at a time, there's a lot of golf to be played."

Perez, who has missed the cut in four of his last five starts, carded six birdies in a bogey-free 65 to lead by one from Garcia, Anton Karlsson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Sihwan Kim and Gavin Green, with world number 11 Jon Rahm three shots further back following a 69.

"Two under par is a great round and hopefully I can come out early in the morning and do what the leaders did and shoot something low," Rahm said after a round containing an eagle, four birdies and four bogeys.

"I think it's my first round under par here in a tournament. It feels good coming out of Pebble (Beach) playing some solid rounds, I just hope I can keep that going and avoid the few mistakes I made today."

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Sporting Life's NAP of the day1

Daily Nap: Who's the Daddy?

Matt Brocklebank bids to follow up Ben Linfoot's 3/1 winner on Friday with the Sporting Life Daily Nap running at Newcastle.

Ronnie O'Sullivan2

Shocks galore as Ford bags 147 break

Ronnie O'Sullivan joined Judd Trump in suffering a surprise defeat at the English Open on Friday, while Tom Ford bagged another 147 break.

Nick Robson previews all the action3

Friday's racing preview

Nick Robson makes Chasing Dreams his best Friday bet and he has a tip for every meeting in the UK and Ireland.

Magical wins on Champions Day
4

Champions Day latest news

We round up the final declarations for QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot as Stradivarius and Magical go for glory this weekend.

Judd Trump5

World champion crashes out

Get the latest from day four of snooker's English Open, where Ronnie O'Sullivan progressed but Judd Trump was surprisingly beaten.

Most Read

Sporting Life's NAP of the day1

Daily Nap: Who's the Daddy?

Matt Brocklebank bids to follow up Ben Linfoot's 3/1 winner on Friday with the Sporting Life Daily Nap running at Newcastle.

Ronnie O'Sullivan2

Shocks galore as Ford bags 147 break

Ronnie O'Sullivan joined Judd Trump in suffering a surprise defeat at the English Open on Friday, while Tom Ford bagged another 147 break.

Nick Robson previews all the action3

Friday's racing preview

Nick Robson makes Chasing Dreams his best Friday bet and he has a tip for every meeting in the UK and Ireland.

Magical wins on Champions Day
4

Champions Day latest news

We round up the final declarations for QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot as Stradivarius and Magical go for glory this weekend.

Judd Trump5

World champion crashes out

Get the latest from day four of snooker's English Open, where Ronnie O'Sullivan progressed but Judd Trump was surprisingly beaten.

Racing Tips

Sporting Life's NAP of the day

Daily Nap: Who's the Daddy?

Matt Brocklebank bids to follow up Ben Linfoot's 3/1 winner on Friday with the Sporting Life Daily Nap running at Newcastle.

Nick Robson previews all the action

Friday's racing preview

Nick Robson makes Chasing Dreams his best Friday bet and he has a tip for every meeting in the UK and Ireland.

Magical and Coronet do battle again, this time in the Champion Stakes

Alex Hammond: Play it Coulis

Alex Hammond looks ahead to QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and highlights her best bets, including Clon Coulis in the Balmoral Handicap..

Next Race Off

09:30 Chennai
6
(12)
Party Starter
J: A Ashhad Asbar
12
(8)
Hocus Pocus
J: B Harish
10
(9)
Lady Ameera
J: A Ayaz Khan

Football Tips

Our best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action

Sky Bet EFL: Weekend preview

Tom Carnduff is searching for value in goalscorers among the Sky Bet EFL has found two best bets this weekend.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate a goal for Arsenal in Valencia

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in October 2019.

All of Sporting Life's current best bets across a range of sports

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.