Czech Masters: Thomas Pieters holds on for first win in three years
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 18/08/19 8:14pm
Thomas Pieters ended a three-year winless run on the European Tour with an impressive victory at the D+D Real Czech Masters.
Pieters posted a three-under 69 at Albatross Golf Resort to finish on 19 under and a shot clear of Adri Arnaus, who birdied two of his last three holes to also post a final-round 69.
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A joint-low round of the day 65 from defending champion Andrea Pavan lifted the Italian to tied-third and four strokes back alongside Sam Horsfield, with Scotland's Liam Johnston registering a share of fifth spot.
Pieters - who claimed his first professional win at the event in 2015 - took a one-shot lead into the final round and doubled his lead by holing a 20-footer at the first.
The Belgian wasted birdie opportunities at the fourth and fifth but made amends by rolling from 10 feet at the sixth and from a couple of feet further out at the next, only to miss a three-footer to save par at the eighth.
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A birdie at the ninth restored Pieters' two-shot cushion at the turn, before the former Ryder Cup player made a two-putt gain at the 12th to extend his advantage.
Arnaus made a three-foot birdie at the 16th - where Pieters carded a bogey-four - to leave the lead at two with two play, with the Spaniard falling just short of a play-off despite also birdieing the par-four last.
Pavan threatened a late challenge for victory after following a front-nine 31 with birdies at the 10th, 12th and 15th, only to see his hopes ended with a penultimate-hole bogey.
A bogey-free 68 helped Horsfield post his best finish of the season on the European Tour, while Johnston posted three birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn on his way to a two-under 70.