Broberg Wins Dutch Open After Six Years of Hell
KRISTOFFER BROBERG claimed his second European Tour title just under six years after his first and then admitted he had been to hell and back.
After a rollercoaster final round he won the Dutch Open after starting the day eight clear and ending it with a hard-fought three-stroke victory.
"It’s been a nightmare over the past six years," he said. "I was so close to quitting, it’s been so tough. This is way bigger than my last win, more emotions.
"It’s going to be a game changer. I’ll get into bigger events and can plan my schedule a little bit. Before this I was at home for a month. I didn’t know where the game was, but it was good enough."
A battling level par 72, which contained three birdies, three bogeys and some very important par saves, was enough to see Broberg return to the winner's circle for the first time since November 2015 when he won the BMW Masters.
The Swede came into the fourth round leading by eight but his advantage was cut in half by the time he reached the turn, as one birdie and a single bogey on the front nine saw him remain at 23 under par, while Matthias Schmid and Alejanadro Canizares both turned in 31.
Broberg got his second birdie of the day at the 10th to extend his lead to five strokes with eight holes to play, but things started to unravel and he did well to escape with just one dropped shot - and a two shot swing - at the 12th before finding the water at the 14th and carding another bogey there.
He kept his frayed emotions in check and produced an up-and-down from the sand for par at the 15th before another par on the 16th gave him a two shot advantage with two holes to play.
And he nervelessly holed his birdie putt from 13 feet at the 17th to stretch his lead to three before a par on the last saw him finish the tournament on 23 under par and secure the trophy.
Germany's Schmid finished alone in second on 20 under after his closing 66, with Canizares another two shots further back in third.
Runaway leader Broberg opened his fourth round with a birdie from 13 feet to move to 24 under par. The Swede gave the shot back with a bogey at the third but he safely parred the next six holes to turn in a level par 36.
The leader holed his birdie putt from 15 feet at the 10th to return to 24 under, and saved par from 10 feet to avoid a two shot swing at the next after sending his tee shot onto a steep bank.
Broberg looked in danger of blowing his lead altogether at the 12th when he sent his second shot right and it landed among the trees. Instead of playing safe, he gamble and was punished as he hit a big tuft of grass and watched his ball go backwards into a bush.
He had to take a penalty drop but after chipping to the rough next to a greenside bunker, Broberg holed his pitch to only drop one shot. And with Schmid narrowly missing his eagle putt at the same hole, the German only closed to within two shots. There was some relief for the under pressure leader at the short 13th as he made par and watched playing partner Schmid take a double bogey to fall four behind once again.
But there was more drama to come as Broberg found water off the tee at the 14th and made another bogey to slip to 22 under. And when Canizares birdied the 16th two holes up ahead, the lead was just two once again.
Broberg got into more trouble when he found a greenside bunker with his second shot into the 15th but he got up an down for a crucial par, showing his mettle with a ten foot putt. The 16th yielded another par before Broberg made a birdie from 13 feet at the 17th and parred the last to claim an emotional victory.
Things did not go according to plan for Broberg following his maiden win in 2015, with hip and knee injuries contributing to him playing just 11 events between 2018 and 2020.
And he could not hold back the tears on the 18th after becoming a winner on the European Tour once again.
He said: "It feels good. I broke down on the 18th but it’s been six years of hell. Three different surgeries on my left side but now I’m starting to get back where I’m supposed to be.
"The first few days I played really good. Today I was struggling like I was in the off season. I thought my eight shot lead would be enough today, but Matthias played some really beautiful golf."
MAX HOMA completed his third PGA Tour victory when he won the Fortinet Championship by a single stroke thanks to a final round of 65. He holed out from the rough for a spectacular eagle at the 12th and added three more birdies in a remarkable back nine as he caught and overtook Maverick McNealy.
“I had full control today,” said Homa, who saved par out of the sand three times. “I had a really good warm-up, hit my wedges really well. The only bogey I made was going kind of right at it so just felt like I had good control. It just feels really nice.”
Three behind McNealy with seven holes left, Homa followed the eagle with a birdie on the par-four 13th. The 30-year-old former University of California player tapped in for another birdie on the par-five 16th and ran in an 18-footer on the par-four 17th. He parred the par-five 18th to finish at 19-under 269.
It was his second title of the year after winning at Riviera in Los Angeles in February.
McNealy shot a 68 to finish second. He birdied the 16th, then made a double bogey on 17 and an eagle on 18. The son of former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, the 25-year-old player grew up in Palo Alto and starred at Stanford.
“I was pretty good in the morning, but had a few short game mishaps late in the day,” McNealy said. “If I hit that fairway on 17, I’m putting for birdie, it’s a different story.”
Mito Pereira (68) was third at 16 under. Marc Leishman (65) and Talor Gooch (68) followed at 15 under. Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (66) tied for sixth at 13 under. PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson (75) ended the tournament on seven under.
Jim Knous (74) began the day tied for the lead with McNealy, but could never find his rhythm and finished at 12 under. Knous, who has one more start on a medical exemption, landed his opening tee shot into a spectator’s chair and had a triple bogey on No. 14.
Playing in the twosome just in front of McNealy, Homa birdied three of the last four holes on the front nine, then dropped a stroke on No. 10.
He got back on track and turned his round around two holes later when his approach on 12 landed on the front of the green and rolled into the cup as Homa raised his finger in the air.
“You want to have a Tiger Woods moment,” Homa said. “He’s made it from everywhere to win. Sometimes when you put yourself in that state of mind, great things happen.”
Homa’s victory came a week after he ended the “Get A Grip” podcast he had co-hosted for nearly two years. “I love doing it but at some point it was not doing my any favours having to regurgitate all the bad things that happened. It wasn’t healthy for me,” Homa said. “My game is getting to the point where it could be really good.”
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