Arnaus thanks family after thrilling victory
HANSEN CLINGS ON TO WIN THE ROAD TO RAK TITLE
Deputy Editor Sports
Adri Arnaus held his nerve to claim the season-concluding Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Final at Al Hamra Golf Club yesterday in the northern emirate with a nail-biting birdie on the last hole.
It was a bittersweet moment for the Spaniard as he came tantalisingly close to claiming the Challenge Tour’s seasonlong Road to Ras Al Khaimah title from Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen, who clung on to win by €13,000 in prize earnings.
It was a testing day for Hansen, who was in danger of letting his lead slip in the race — thanks to five bogeys and zero birdies on his card through 13 holes before three massive birdies got him across the line.
But the day, and the week, belonged to Arnaus, who saw his week-long lead disappear when he bogeyed the 17th on Saturday and France’s Victor Perez picked up a birdie to level things at the top of the leader board on 16-under.
But the Spaniard was not going to let this one slip and he fired his second shot within 25 feet on the 18th and two-putted to claim the Challenge Tour Final trophy.
“I could not have done this without the help and support of my family,” he said.
“Winning the tournament wire-to-wire is something that I have never done before in a professional level, and it is even more special because from the first day I was able to maintain the intensity and play some good golf, that makes this day even more memorable.
“It is my first full year as a professional golfer and my main goal has always been to get to the European Tour, and to be able to do that in this way is just wonderful.”
Hansen was delighted to hold on to win the season-long race. “Topping the Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings has been the goal since securing my European Tour card and to achieve that feels unreal,” he said.
“I have played in the European Tour for three years before and have learnt a lot from that experience. Now that this season has ended it is time to aim higher and look at bigger goals.”
Pedro Figueiredo grabbed the 15th and final European Tour card, thanks to a final-round 67 that included six birdies.
“It feels amazing to finish on the top 15 in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings. I still can’t believe it,” he said. “I can’t describe how happy I am, to get on to the European Tour, it’s a dream come true. We will head to Dubai to celebrate, dinner is going to be on me tonight so whoever wants to join is more than welcome.”
Adri Arnaus with the trophy after winning the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final at Al Hamra Golf Club yesterday.