Shane Lowry misses out as Joost Luiten holds nerve to win in Wales
Irish golfer cards closing 70 to finish in share of second place
Joost Luiten of the Netherlands sprays champagne following his victory at the Wales Open at Celtic Manor. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Ireland’s Shane Lowry missed out on a chance to land another European Tour title as Dutchman Joost Luiten recovered from a poor start and overcame a nervous finish to claim his fourth title in the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.
Luiten, who was fifth in the defence of his KLM Open title on home soil last week, saw his two-shot overnight lead disappear when he bogeyed the first two holes of the final round.
But the 28-year-old hit back with three birdies and one bogey on the back nine to card a closing 71 and finish 14 under par, one shot ahead of Lowry and England’s Tommy Fleetwood.
Fleetwood had looked out of contention following a double bogey on the 13th, but then chipped in for a birdie on the 14th, holed from five feet for eagle on the next and also birdied the last three holes for a closing 67.
That left Luiten needing to par the last three holes to win and he looked to have done the hard part with a superb up and down from a greenside bunker on the 17th, only to hit an amazingly wild drive on the last.
It took several minutes for the ball to be found in dense rough but Luiten was able to hack it across the fairway and into more rough, from where he found the green with his approach and two-putted from long range.
Lowry had started the final round level with Luiten and also made bogey at the first after driving into a bunker.
He got the shot back at the short third hole but another bogey at the fifth saw him turn in one-over 37.
He birdied the par-five 11th only to hand it straight back with a bogey five on the 12th. Another birdie came at the short 13th but could only make one more gain, at the par-five 18th, as he signed for a one-under 70.