Van Rooyen wins maiden European Tour title

By Doug Mattushek - 25 August 2019Views : 259


Erik van Rooyen left it late but claimed his maiden title in Europe at the Scandinavian Invitation on Sunday.

The South African signed for a second consecutive 64 around the sunbaked Hills Golf and Sports Club for his first taste of Sunday silverware on the European Tour.

Starting the day with a one shot lead over Mathew Fitzpatrick, van Rooyen showed no sign of any pressure as he dropped in birdie putts on the third, fifth, eighth and ninth to make the turn four under for the day on an easy scoring course.

A superlative tee shot on the tenth gave him another birdie chance which he converted at it was all looking too easy for Van Rooyen. The 29-year-old seemed to have it all wrapped up as he walked to the 16th tee with a three shot lead.

However, a superlative birdie-birdie finish from Fitzpatrick - which included a 35 foot bomb - set the clubhouse lead at 18 under and when van Rooyen missed a three-footer for par on the 17th, they were all square.

But van Rooyen showed steely resolve to shrug of his three runner-up finishes and drain a final 14 footer to win for the first time in Europe.

"It's too good, it's hard to describe," the Cape Tonian told europeantour.com.

"I was so nervous on 18. On 17 I was fine, I just didn't hit that putt hard enough and then I asked (caddie) Alex, 'what are we at?' and he told me that Matt went birdie-birdie.

"I've been putting so well all day and to hole that one to win my first one is pretty cool. I've gone close a bunch of times and every time I'm in contention the question gets asked. I'm just so proud of myself and Alex and everybody, I'm over the moon."

Further down the leaderboard, local hero Henrik Stenson - who aced the par three sixth - finish in T3 with another South African Dean Burmester while a host of players where locked in T5, including Alexander Levy and Jamie Donaldson.