Jacquelin wins Spanish Open
VALENCIA, Spain (AP)
Raphael Jacquelin had to sink a putt on 18th hole of the Parador de El Saler course 10 times on Sunday before finally being crowned the winner of the Spanish Open.
That 10th putt, a five-footer for birdie, finally ended a record-tying nine-hole playoff with Germany's Maximilian Kieffer to give the French golfer his fourth European Tour victory and his first in over two years.
Jacquelin's two-hour battle with Kieffer had started as a three-way playoff with Chile's Felipe Aguilar, who lasted two rounds before bowing out.
The three players were tied at 5-under 283, with Jacquelin and Kieffer both carding a 1-under 71 in the final round while Aguilar finished with a 70.
''That is very tiring but I am really, really happy,'' Jacquelin said. ''I could not make any putts (in the playoff) but the last one dropped, which means a lot for me and my family.''
The only other European Tour event to be decided by a nine-hole playoff was the 1989 Dutch Open, when Jose Maria Olazabal, who guided Europe to the Ryder Cup last year, beat Roger Chapman and Ronan Rafferty.
Jacquelin started the day four shots off the pace, but overnight leader Mark Warren bogeyed four of his last five holes in a late collapse, finishing with a 76 to sit one shot behind the leading trio. Jacquelin, meanwhile, made his fifth birdie of the day on his first of many looks at the par-4 18th to make the playoff.
Warren had a chance to join in the playoff but bogeyed the last to let all chances of victory slip away.
In the playoff, all three players made par the first two times around before Jacquelin and Kieffer both birdied their third attempts to make it a two-way race. Both players then made par five times in a row before Jacquelin's winning birdie.
Jacquelin praised the 22-year-old Kieffer, who was playing in just his ninth European Tour tournament.
''He is starting this year very well,'' he said. ''He is going to do very well and going to win a lot, I am sure.''
Jacquelin had put himself in contention Friday with a 66 despite pesky winds to move up the leaderboard. The 38-year-old Frenchman's last win came at the Sicilian Open in 2011. His first European Tour win was also in Spain, at the Madrid Open in 2005.
''There's another baby coming at the end of November,'' said Jacquelin, a father of three. ''Every time I get a baby, there's a win so I'll have a football team after a few years.''