Dubuisson upstages stars to win Turkish Open
Victor Dubuisson upstaged some of golf’s biggest stars including World No.1 Tiger Woods to win the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open in Belek on Sunday.
Dubuisson, 23, shot a final round 69 to claim a first ever European Tour victory by two shots with a 24-under par tally in southern Turkey.
Jamie Donaldson posted a nine under par 63 for second place at 22-under par as England’s Justin Rose hit a last day 64 to share third place on 20-under with Woods, who birdied four of his closing five holes in a five-under 67.
Current European No. 1 Henrik Stenson shot a 69 for a share of seventh place at 18-under par.
Former World No. 1 ranked amateur Dubuisson headed into the last round with a resounding five shot cushion but was virtually speechless in learning the enormity of his success on the Maxx Royal course.
The Cannes-born player earned a 848,930-euro first prize cheque and the big step of moving from 108th to inside the top-40 on the world rankings.
“It is just so great to win, and I just didn’t realise just what it means to win a big tournament that included Tiger, Stenson, Justin Rose, as they were all in contention with me today,” he said.
“So it is a great feeling, and I’m really proud of what I did because it was the toughest golf day of my life.
“I struggled early and not managing to make my first birdie to the 10th hole. I was also watching the leader board and I could see all the good players coming back to me.
“But then my caddy said to me that if I make one or two birdies near the end I would be fine, so then to hole that 25-foot putt for birdie on 17 and to make the eight-footer on the last was very special.”
Dubuisson was showered in champagne by countryman Julien Quesne, Gregory Bourdy and Gregory Havret while he was full of praise for final round playing partner and fellow Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin.
“Of course, Raphael and I are very good friends but on the first tee we were rivals but when he knew he couldn’t win he was very encouraging and helping calm me down,” said Dubuisson.
And when Dubuisson was quizzed who was his golfing idol he responded: “He was playing in the group ahead of me. Tiger Woods.”
Welshman Donaldson drew level at 22-under par with Dubuisson when he had a hole-in-one at the par three 16th that earned him one million air miles courtesy of the title sponsor.
Woods, meanwhile, was returning home to Florida ahead of his final event of the year and his own World Challenge commencing on December 5.
“I said 20-under par was going to win this week and it kind of ended up being that way,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed coming here again to Turkey and while this year was totally different format to last year, this was a fun tournament.
“It was different in the fact that you had to make so many birdies. So I’m now hanging up the clubs for a little bit, so it’s going to be nice.”
Woods will return to the event next year as part of a three-year deal he signed with the Turkish Golf Federation while he will commence next year in the 25th anniversary Dubai Desert Classic on January 30.
Stenson, who shot a 69 to share seventh place on 18-under par, heads to next week’s Race to Dubai finale still leading the money list.
The Swede has seen his lead slashed from 343,866 euro to 213,468 euro over Rose who has moved into second place ahead of the absent Graeme McDowell.
And the leading four contenders for the European No. 1 title, including Poulter who is fourth, are now separated by 343,906 euro and with a first prize cheque next week of 1.1m euro.
However Stenson’s right wrist continues to cause concern and he is also considering withdrawing from this week’s Pro-Am as he did ahead of the recent BMW Masters in Shanghai.
“I want to give my wrist a full two days rest and just do light practice, so it is going to affect my preparations but it’s been like that for three weeks, so I just do the best I can,” he said.