Joakim Lagergren finally got his hands on a European Tour trophy. For Mike Lorenza-Vera, the wait goes on.
Lagergren defeated Lorenza-Vera at the first extra hole of the $1.2 million Rocco Forte Sicilian Open after the pair tied on 16-under 268. The Swede took the title with a birdie to the Frenchman’s par.
The 26-year-old Stockholm native earned $199,000 for his efforts. Lorenzo-Vera’s consolation was a check for $133,000. England’s Andy Sullivan and Lucas Herbert of Australia picked up $67,000 each for sharing third place, one shot behind the playoff contenders.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole career,” Lagergren said. “I’m so relieved and I’m so happy at the moment, I can’t describe it in words. I’ve just been fighting so hard to get to here, it’s just awesome.”
Lagergren finished third in the Trophee Hassan II three weeks ago. He came close to winning in last year’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, but lost a playoff to Jeunghun Wang. Fortunately, there was no deja vu this time around.
“When you’re just missing out a few times you really want to get that first win, and it feels like you really need to get over that first step to then really continue and get more and more. This is a big step for me.”
Lorenzo-Vera has been trying to get his hands on European Tour silverware since topping the Challenge Tour order of merit in 2007, so far the only Frenchman to finish No. 1 in Europe’s junior circuit. His Sicily performance matches his best European Tour finish, second in the 2008 Volvo China Open.
“What can I say? He made a birdie on the last and I didn’t really have a chance,” the 33-year-old said. “It was the kind of day where I was a bit far from the pins so it was hard to score low for me. He took his chance better than me.
“I gave it a go. I tried my best. He did it better than me. Now I’m just going to have to work more to be able to finish the job.”
Sullivan closed with a 65. He was looking for his first win since 2015, when he won three times.