Daniel Gavins survives final-hole drama to win Ras Al Khaimah Championship

The Englishman held his nerve to hole for a double-bogey seven on the 18th and clinch a one-shot victory.

Phil Casey
Sunday 05 February 2023 13:21 GMT
(Getty Images)

England’s Daniel Gavins survived an incredible final-hole blunder to claim his second DP World Tour title in the Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

Gavins was in danger of squandering a three-shot lead when he twice found the water on the par-five 18th at Al Hamra Golf Club, only to hole from 25 feet for a double-bogey seven.

That gave the 31-year-old a total of 17 under par and a one-shot victory over Alexander Bjork and Zander Lombard, who was unable to convert an eagle putt from 24 feet on the last to force a play-off.

“I’m pretty speechless to be honest,” Gavins, who did not have a practice round this week due to a back injury, told Sky Sports. “I’ve been struggling off the tee the last two weeks and it’s not a very nice tee shot to have (on 18), even with a two-shot lead.

“It was a difficult hole to get through and to be fair I thought I was holing that putt for a play-off. I didn’t realise Bjork had made bogey.

“I’d put two in the water and I thought that’s one way to end the tournament. I sunk the putt and went to the back of the green and saw that I was actually winning still. It was kind of a big shock.”

Gavins began the day two shots off the lead held by Lombard and bogeyed the first hole, but responded brilliantly to birdie the next five in succession before another birdie on the eighth gave him a two-stroke lead.

Bogeys on the ninth and 12th dropped Gavins back into a tie for the lead with Bjork, but the 31-year-old birdied the 14th and 15th to move two clear again before the drama unfolded on 18.

Having driven into the water, Gavins hit an ideal drive with his second ball but was unaware that, in the group ahead, Bjork had three-putted from long range for a closing bogey.

Gavins therefore chose not to lay up with his fourth shot and hit a fairway wood into the water before taking a penalty drop, pitching on to the green and holing from 25 feet to seal a remarkable win.

Lombard had fallen four shots off the lead following an erratic first 10 holes containing an eagle, one birdie and five bogeys, but birdied the 11th and 12th and narrowly failed to eagle the last to force extra holes.

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