Teenager Rasmus Hojgaard displayed extraordinary nerve to win the Mauritius Open and claim a maiden European Tour title in only his fifth start.
The 18-year-old Dane birdied the final hole in regulation play to complete a 68 and earn a spot in a three-way play-off at 19 under with fellow rookie Antoine Rozner (69) and Renato Paratore (67).
Hojgaard then turned on the style when playing the 18th a further three times, twice recording birdies to match Rozner – as Paratore was eliminated – and then sealing victory with a wonderful eagle. Only Matteo Manassero and Danny Lee have triumphed on the European Tour at a younger age.
A stunning approach to around 10 feet set up Hojgaard’s winning putt and the youngster, whose identical twin Nicolai finished second to Sergio Garcia at the KLM Open in September, was soon doused in champagne as he celebrated a momentous success.
He’s done it!!
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) December 8, 2019
“I can’t put it into words right now. This is a dream come true,” a soaked but smiling Hojgaard told Sky Sports. “I don’t know what to say – it’s amazing.”
A par at the first play-off hole ended Paratore’s hopes, but Rozner did nothing wrong and was on course for a third successive birdie in the play-off when Hojgaard drained his eagle putt.
Unreal performance from Rasmus Højgaard..
18 years old and performing like that.
Him and his twin brother Nicolai will be a force in European golf for many years to come.
— Thomas Bjorn (@thomasbjorngolf) December 8, 2019
Louis de Jager produced the best round of the day, a 64 featuring six front-nine birdies and an eagle at the 14th, to finish one shot behind the leading trio.
He was joined at 18 under by Benjamin Hebert (66), Grant Forrest (66) and Thomas Detry, whose wait for a first European Tour win goes on after he could only manage a 70 having begun the day in a share of the lead with Rozner and Calum Hill.
It was a miserable Sunday for Hill. The Scot triple-bogeyed the first and went around in 74 to finish tied-17th at 14 under.