Nicolaj Hojgaard debuts at the home of the 2023 Ryder Cup

Danish Nicolai Hojgaard woke up on time and with a birdie on the last hole, for a total of 271 strokes (-13), after a fourth card with 71 (par), he won the Italian Golf Open, which was played in the Roman Marco Simone, in what is his first title on the European Tour and, curiously, taking the witness of his twin brother Rasmus, who last weekend won the Swiss European Masters.

Nicolai Hojgaard, who turned 20 on March 12 and has been a professional since 2019, came very close to throwing his victory in Rome, after complicating his tournament himself. He started the last day as the leader, with a stroke of advantage over the South African Daniel Van Tonder and the Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, and with 6 over the Polish Adrian Meronk, who with a remarkable 66 (-5) came to dream of the final victory after watch as the Dane started a dangerous downhill with five holes to go.

And it is that Hojgaard arrived leader with -14 after finishing hole 13, with Meronk with -12 already in the clubhouse after finishing his fourth round. Fleetwood was then -11, while Van Tonder had missed out on qualifying with a bad score (79 at the end). Everything seemed sentenced in favor of Nicolai, but he went into a spin and made two ‘bogeys’ (holes 14 and 15) that gave life to an incredulous Meronk, who from the clubhouse was seen as a co-leader. They were joined by Fleetwood, with a’ birdie ‘on the 18.

Hojgaard, who made par on 16 and 17, had par 5 left on 18 to react and avoid a tiebreaker at three. And he did it, he reacted in time and made a birdie winner that gave him his first title on the European Tour. Until now his only triumph as a professional was in the Nordic League, of a minor category. Nicolai emulated Rasmus seven days later, winner in Switzerland last Sunday and who finished eighteenth in Rome, seven strokes behind his twin.

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Of the ‘Spanish army’, the best was Pablo Larraz√°bal, who finished eighth, with a total of 275 (70 + 70 + 70 + 65); while Adri Arnaus was twelfth, with 276, and Adrian Otaegui finished thirty-fourth with 281. Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti finished twenty-seventh with 280 (72 + 69 + 70 + 69).

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