Maybin in the drink as Martin takes title
A double-bogey at the last ruined any lingering hopes Gareth Maybin had of a first European Tour win yesterday.
The Ballyclare man was far from alone in finding the water surrounding most of the 18th green, but crucially Spain’s Pablo Martin did not as he held on for his first professional win.
And he made a little history as the first man to win both as an amateur and in the paid ranks following his Portuguese Open win two years ago.
Martin, ranked 488th in the world at the start of the tournament, was in the depths of despair about his game after missing the first seven cuts of this year. He now ends 2009 on a real high after beating home hope and former winner Charl Schwartzel by a single stroke in a tense finish.
It was only on the final day of last season that Martin made sure of keeping his Tour card, but he is now exempt until the end of 2012 — and over £143,000 richer.
The Malaga golfer had had only one top-10 finish since his triumph in Portugal, but with a closing three-under-par 69 he held off the charging Schwartzel to win with a 17-under total.
“It's an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “I am so happy and there was so much emotion today.”
While he had the ecstasy, there was agony for several others after the 541-yard 18th — one of the toughest finishing holes in golf — claimed yet more victims.
Welshman Sion Bebb, only one behind after an eagle on the 13th, crashed to a sextuple bogey 11 after tangling with trees and then dumping two balls in the water surrounding the green.
That dropped him from fifth to 17th and alongside Ernie Els, who after starting the day tied for second shot a miserable 77.
The former Open champion's round ended in a double-bogey seven on the hole where he took eight when two in front two years ago. Maybin’s seven dropped him from third to joint fourth while Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera had an eight to fall from fourth to eighth.