Match play specialist Adrian Otaegui last man standing at Belgian Knockout

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Match play specialist Adrian Otaegui last man standing at Belgian Knockout

Euro Tour

Match play specialist Adrian Otaegui last man standing at Belgian Knockout

Spain’s Adrian Otaegui is becoming something of a specialist in knockout tournaments. The 25-year-old earned his second European Tour win with victory in the $1.2 million Belgian Knockout.

Otaegui added the title to the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play he won last year. The San Sebastian native defeated Frenchman Benjamin Hebert by two shots in the nine-hole knockout stroke play format to pick up the $196,000 first place check. Hebert took home $131,000. 

Scotland’s David Drysdale defeated James Heath of England by one shot to finish third. One time Augusta State player Heath upset the home fans by defeating Nicolas Colsaerts in the quarterfinals.

“I’m very happy, very relaxed now after the last nine holes against Ben that were very tight,” Otaegui said. “I think we both played very good golf and I’m just very proud about my week.

“I just tried to play against myself. Obviously, your opponent is just next to you, but I just tried to focus on my game, stroke play, and so that’s what I tried to do.”

Otaegui arrived in Belgium on the back of five straight top 20 finishes, including a runner-up in the Volvo China Open, his previous start. He’s now 14th on the European money list, and could move as high as 75th on the Official World Golf Ranking from 99th when the ranking is updated Monday. He’s now got his eyes set on playing in another knockout contest, albeit a higher profile event than the Belgian Knockout. 

“I’ve started pretty well for the moment,” Otaegui said about his form this season.

“I’m just looking forward to focus on the Rolex Series next, some big events coming up and I just want to focus on that and there’s still a lot of season ahead. The season is still very long, but I’m looking for Ryder Cup.” 

The Spaniard resides in Dubai but he was born in San Sebastian in Northern Spain. He began playing golf at nearby Fuenterrabia, and it was there he met Jose Maria Olazabal. The two-time Masters winner was born and raised in Fuenterrabia and mentored Otaegui as a junior, and continues to influence his career.

No wonder Otaegui wants to follow in Olazabal’s footsteps and play in the Ryder Cup.

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