Wattel holds nerve to seal maiden European Tour triumph
Romain Wattel overcame the last-hole nerves that got the better of KLM Open title rival Kiradech Aphibarnrat to win his first European Tour event.
The Frenchman teed it up on the last with a one-shot lead and opted for a conservative approach that ultimately paid dividends, but only after Aphibarnrat's attempt at being bold backfired.
Having held the overnight lead in Netherlands, Aphibarnrat double-bogeyed the 15th and the 18th – finding water at the last after going for the green in two.
Wattel was content to lay up and reach the putting surface in three, only to leave his third shot well short. Finally he composed himself to get down in two and save par, signing for a 69 that left him 15 under for the tournament, one shot clear of Austin Connelly following the Canadian's 66.
First trophy kiss. pic.twitter.com/udn497CJMm— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) September 17, 2017
"I came to this tournament, I was playing poorly to be honest," said the world number 451. "Last week I struggled with my game.
"I am happy with the way I played all week. It's been a very nice weekend.
"I've putted really bad the last two years – I think I'm a really good putter but the last two years were tough for me.
"I never thought about the score, I just tried to play my best. I was just trying to be as high as I could on the leaderboard, but it was very tight. I just tried to play my own game."
Aphibarnrat's woes saw him slump to a tie for ninth, with six players sharing third on 13 under, including Lee Westwood.
All that late drama resulted in Wattel's maiden European Tour title after 187 starts.