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Sport

Danish teen Hojgaard beats Walters in playoff to clinch UK Championship

(Reuters) - Danish teenager Rasmus Hojgaard kept his composure to beat South Africa’s Justin Walters at the second extra hole of a playoff to win the UK Championship at the Belfry on Sunday.

A seven-under-par 65 in the final round allowed the 19-year-old prospect to match Walters at 14-under par for the tournament before going on to become only the second player ever to win twice on the European Tour while still in his teens.

Hojgaard’s charge on the celebrated English course saw him take the clubhouse lead before Walters, who needed a birdie on the last hole to win the title, could only secure a par to force the playoff.

At the first extra hole, Hojgaard missed a curling 15-foot birdie putt for the win at the par-four 18th but clinched the $1 million purse when he parred the same hole again while Walters made a bogey.

“I was a bit surprised that I ended up in a playoff, but it was fun out there,” Hojgaard, who started the day five strokes back, said.

“It’s hard to describe. It’s obviously an amazing feeling to get the wins, it happened really quick. I’m kind of lost for words right now but it’s an amazing feeling.”

Hojgaard was the first player born in the 21st century to come through the European Tour’s Qualifying School last year and won his maiden title in Mauritius in December, which also came in a playoff.

The teenager has two wins in only 12 starts in his rookie season on the Tour. Italian Matteo Manassero was the only other two-time winner as a teenager.

Walters, who led the field after every round, is still without a win on the European Tour and the 39-year-old has now finished runner-up four times.

France’s Benjamin Hebert and Germany’s Martin Kaymer were third, one shot behind the top two, while Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and Scotland’s Craig Howe, who both carded 65 on the final day, were tied for fifth a further shot behind.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Chadband

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