Gavins wins Ras Al Khaimah Championship after wild finish
RAS AL KHAIMAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) Daniel Gavins won the Ras Al Khaimah Championship on Sunday after a wild finish that saw the Englishman twice find the water on the last hole before rolling in a title-clinching putt from 26 feet for double-bogey.
Gavins shot 3-under 69 to finish on 17 under overall, then had to wait to see if Zander Lombard - the third-round leader playing in the final group - could eagle the par-5 No. 18 to force a playoff.
Lombard's eagle putt missed right and Gavins celebrated with his girlfriend in the scoring hut. It was his second European tour title after the ISPS Handa World Invitational in 2021.
Lombard (72) and Alexander Bjork (68) tied for second place, with Bjork - playing in the group ahead of Gavins - making a costly bogey down the last hole.
Gavins hadn't realized that and thought he was playing the 18th leading by two, rather than three.
He sliced his tee shot into the water. Then, after finding the middle of the fairway with his third shot, Gavins hit a fairway wood that veered right, bounced off the rocks and plopped into the water again.
Gavins chipped from the rough onto the green with his sixth shot and thought he needed to hole the putt to get into a playoff with Bjork. He clenched his fist when the double-bogey putt dropped, not knowing he'd actually likely won.
"I put two in the water and thought, `Well, that's one way to end the tournament,'" Gavins said about what he described as a "difficult last hole to get through."
"I sunk the putt, went to the back of the green and saw that I was actually winning, still. It was kind of a big shock."
Gavins started the final round two shots off the lead, bogeyed the first, then made six birdies in seven holes to take the lead at Al Hamra Golf Club.
"I felt pretty relaxed all day, to be fair," he said, "even though my swing off the tee wasn't great. I just played with what I had.
"I felt it a lot on the 18th but apart from that, I was pretty calm all day."
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Updated February 5, 2023