2002: Quick start jumps Dier by field

Hilversum, Netherlands

Tobias Dier’s magnificent opening round in the TNT Dutch Open had fellow competitors trying to catch the 25-year-old German from the very beginning.

They never did.

Dier, who shot a record-tying 10-under-par 60 July 25, finished with a 17-under-par 263 total to defeat England’s Jamie Spence by one stroke July 28 at Hilversumsche Golf Club.

He had a 1-under 69 Sunday, including an eagle at the 12th hole that all but clinched his victory. Spence, who had a final-round 65, eagled the 18th hole to make the final margin closer.

After the eagle on No. 12, Dier (pronounced Deer) closed his round with six consecutive pars, becoming the fifth wire-to-wire winner in the tournament’s history.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Australian Peter Lonard tied for third at 15-under 265. Both made brief runs at Dier, but were doomed by late bogeys.

Harrington, playing with Dier in the final round, pulled within two shots of the lead with an eagle at No. 12, but hit his tee shot over the stands at the par-3 15th hole and missed his putt for par. Lonard birdied Nos. 12, 13 and 14, but ruined his chance at victory with a bogey on the par-4 16th.

“I got a bit nervous at the last few holes,” said Dier, who earned his second PGA European Tour victory. “But they just didn’t want to catch me.”

His first-round 60 made it tough. It was only the 10th time the score had been shot in PGA European Tour history. The 10-birdie round – Dier birdied Nos. 1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17 and 18 – put him in the lead by five shots, the tour’s largest first-round advantage this season, and also improved his career-best score by five shots. Dier’s longest birdie putt was from 25 feet on the 17th.

Dier had missed the cut in 12 of his previous 15 events, but turned in the lowest 18-hole score in the event’s 82-year history, beating the 62s shot by Payne Stewart and Per-Ulrik Johansson on a par-72 course in 1991.

“I’m still not on earth, I’m somewhere in orbit,” said Dier after the first round. “I’ve never had a score like this – 60 is a number everybody dreams of.”

Dier’s back-to-back 67s in the second and third rounds helped him set the tour’s lowest 36-hole (127) and 54-hole (194) totals of the season, and gave him a three-shot edge over Harrington and England’s Mark Roe heading into the final round.

Dier birdied No. 7, but then had bogeys on No. 8 and No. 11, and seemed shaky before his eagle at No. 12 settled him down.

“The eagle at the 12th was the key for me,” said Dier, who became the third German in the last six years to win the event, joining Bernhard Langer (2001) and Sven Struver (1997).

“If somebody had said to me I was going to win before the start of the week, I would have told them to ‘dream on’ because I wasn’t playing well,” Dier said. “But now it is a fairy tale for me.”

– From staff and wire reports

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