Monday, August 19, 2019

Thomas Pieters  (Getty Images)
Thomas Pieters (Getty Images)

  • image:
    Video Thomas PIETERS
Thomas Pieters ended his three year wait for a fourth European Tour title as he claimed a one-shot victory at the D+D Real Czech Masters to continue his love affair with Albatross Golf Resort.

Pieters, who secured his maiden win at the Prague venue in 2015, became the first man to win this event twice courtesy of a nerveless 69 which contained five birdies and two bogeys.

The 2016 Ryder Cup star led from start to finish on Sunday, with four birdies on the front nine keeping the chasing pack at arm's length and a further gain at the 12th powering him over the line.

The winning margin could have been even greater, with Pieters narrowly missing a number of birdie chances early in his fourth round, but he also produced some wonderful par saves on the back nine as he made frontrunning look easy.

Pieters' playing partner Adri Arnaus finished alone in second place on 18 under par after carding an eagle, four birdies and three bogeys in his closing 69.



Defending champion Andrea Pavan was doing everything in his power to ensure the trophy returned home with him on Sunday afternoon but his 65 was only good enough for a share of third place on 16 under alongside Sam Horsfield.

Beginning the day with a narrow one shot lead, Pieters extended his advantage at the earliest opportunity with a birdie from around 18 feet at the long first.

He safely parred the second and third as the wind began to blow and had to settle for further pars at the fourth and fifth despite giving himself decent birdie opportunities.

Pieters finally made one of his chances count as he rolled in his birdie effort from ten feet at the sixth to move to 18 under.

He then sent his tee shot at the short seventh to inside 12 feet before knocking in for a second consecutive birdie.

A missed par putt from three feet on the eighth green was the only blemish of Pieters' front nine and, as the leader returned to 18 under, defending champion Pavan knocked in his short putt at the 15th to card his eighth birdie of the day and cut the gap to one.


Five of the best - D+D Real Czech Masters Day 4

Pieters closed his front nine with a bounce back birdie at the long ninth to head into the turn with a two shot lead.

When Italian Pavan made his first bogey of the day at the 17th, Pieters' lead was stretched to three shots and the Belgian tapped in his birdie putt from 18 inches at the long 12th to get to 20 under and move four clear.

Pieters produced a magnificent par save from 12 feet on the 13th before getting up and down from a tricky spot at the next.

The runaway leader chose to take a drop at the 15th after launching his tee shot into the heavy rough but lifted his approach shot to within ten feet before coolly knocking in the putt for an unlikely par.

Pieters dropped his second shot of the day at the 16th after his long birdie putt sailed past the hole, leaving him a tricky ten footer back up the hill.
Spaniard Arnaus knocked his tee shot to within a couple of feet at the short 16th before rolling in for a birdie to close the gap to Pieters to two shots.

But Pieters finished his round with back to back pars to secure European Tour title number four.


Pieters - really happy to get it done

Pieters was thrilled to return to the winner's circle. He said: "I'm relieved. It's been a long time - it's been three years since I last won.

"It feels good to win again. I never doubted myself but it's just been a long road of not feeling that great with the golf swing. It feels good to get back on track again and get another win.

"It's difficult when everybody says you should be winning two or three times a year. It's always nice to hear that but it's almost a negative sometimes because I always felt like I was underachieving but hopefully there's many more like this.

"I felt like I was in control today, almost the whole day and I kind of did my own thing."
Arnaus piled the pressure on Pieters with late birdies at the 16th and 18th but it was not enough to take the title away from the Belgian.


Arnaus - very happy after another good week

The 24-year-old rookie said: "I never gave up, I tried to make some birdies coming in and see if he would make a mistake but he didn’t.
"He was solid getting up and down on 15 and overall it was a really good battle so I’m happy.
“It came into my mind that it was sort of match play so I just tried to beat him over the last two holes, which I did but I came up one short.
"Every week I come out here I learn and I’ll take a lot from this one I’m sure. I’m just enjoying the process at the moment and hopefully I can be up there again in the next few weeks."



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