Ashun Wu cemented his place in European Tour history by winning the $2.1 million KLM Open in the Netherlands. Wu’s one-shot victory over England’s Chris Wood makes him the first Chinese player to win three times on the European circuit.
The 33-year-old Wu began the final round one shot behind England’s Wood, but became the first Chinese winner of the KLM Open when he returned a closing 4-under 67 to finish at 16-under 268. He picked up a check for $349,000 to move to 43rd on the European Tour money list.
Wood earned $232,000 for his third runner-up of the season. Former Illinois player Thomas Detry tied third with Japan’s Hideto Tanihara, two shots behind Wu. Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington was three shots of the pace in solo fifth.
Wu birdied three of his last five holes to deny Wood his fourth European Tour victory.
“Unbelievable this week,” Wu said. “I am so happy, very happy today.”
The victory justified Wu’s decision to revamp his swing at the start of the season.
“We just fixed my swing at the beginning of the year, and we still trust that we are going the right way,” he said. “My coach and I were working very hard and he has flown to the Czech Republic and Denmark to help me, so I think we are getting better and better. That’s why I think last week was top 10 (T-6) and then this week just win.”
Wood set a target of 15 under at the start of the week, believing that would be the winning score. Too bad he didn’t shoot for 17 under. He might have reached that target if not for a double bogey six at the par-4 12th hole.
“I just hung in there all day,” Wood said. “Apart from a couple of bad tee shots, I didn’t hit a bad shot all day. It’s hard to take at the minute.
“When you get a chance to win you want to take it. It was so bunched heading into the day. You’re the one with the one-shot lead but it’s nothing when there’s 10 guys within three/four shots of the lead, especially round here because there’s lots of chances. It’s just hard.”