Christiaan Bezuidenhout has all but sealed his spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates as he climbed up to ninth in the Race to Dubai Rankings after picking up his first EuropeanTour title in emphatic style with a six-stroke triumph at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.
The South African, who also secured a Major championship debut at The Open Championship with his victory, started the final round with a five-shot lead and although that was reduced to three at one point, a closing level par 71 saw him finish on ten under par and six shots ahead of a quintet of players including 2017 DP World Tour Championship winner Jon Rahm.
“I’m proud of myself hanging in there today,” said Bezuidenhout, who collects 710 Race to Dubai points to jump up to ninth from 46th in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
“I had a tough stretch in the middle of my round from five to seven. I made a great save on eight which just kept the momentum on my side and I bounced back with three birdies in a row. That just settled me down nicely, I just had to keep on hitting greens and the rest will take care of itself.
“I was nervous. It’s a tough golf course, anything can happen, especially those last three holes playing into the wind. I’m really pleased with the way I played and to finish it off is unbelievable.”
Rahm shared second spot with fellow Spaniards Eduardo de la Riva, Adri Arnaus, Alvaro Quiros and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera at Real Club Valderrama. All five men receive 255.7 Race to Dubai points with Rahm moving up 11 places to 15th, Quiros climbing to 40th and de la Riva entering the Rankings at 110th after his second European Tour event of the year.
Meanwhile, Arnaus and Lorenzo-Vera joined Bezuidenhout in qualifying for The Open Championship at Royal Portrush after finishing as the top three players in the top ten that are not already exempt for the tournament with de la Riva and Quiros missing out due to their inferior Official World Ranking. Arnaus moves up to 34th from 62nd in the Race to Dubai Rankings while Lorenzo-Vera jumps to 29th from 48th.
Tournament host and home favourite Sergio Garcia finished a shot further back in seventh which moves him up to 17th from 20th in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
2018 European Ryder Cup winning Captain Thomas Bjørn carded his best result of the season with a tied eighth finish in Spain. The 48 year old moves up 31 places from 143rd to 112th in the Rankings as he targets a first appearance at the DP World Tour Championship since 2014.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 21-24 where US$3 million will be up for grabs for the winner, making it the richest prize in world tournament golf.