Home Rankings News
Teenager Højgaard claims historic win in Mauritius

Teenager Højgaard claims historic win in Mauritius

Rasmus Højgaard became the third youngest winner in European Tour history with a dramatic play-off triumph at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

Rasmus Højgaard

The 18-year-old Dane birdied the 72nd hole to get to 19 under alongside Italian Renato Paratore and Frenchman Antoine Rozner as the event went to a play-off for the third time in as many stagings at Heritage Golf Club.

Højgaard missed a 12 foot eagle putt for the title on the first trip back up the par five last but - after halving the hole in birdies with Rozner at the second attempt - made his three from similar range at the third time of asking to take the title.

At 18 years and 271 days old, only Italian Matteo Manassero - who won twice as a 17-year-old - and New Zealander Danny Lee have won on the European Tour at a younger age.

Højgaard came to prominence in 2018 as he won the Eisenhower Trophy for Denmark alongside identical twin Nicolai and John Axelsen, and played with his brother at the Junior Ryder Cup.

Nicolai finished second to Sergio Garcia at last season's KLM Open but after becoming the first player born in the 21st century to graduate from the Qualifying School, Rasmus is now a European Tour winner in just his fifth event.

That makes him the fastest Dane to a European Tour win, beating 15 time winner and 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn's record of 24 events.

"This is a dream come true," he said. "It's amazing. To be on the European Tour so early is a dream come true and to be a winner now, it's incredible. I can't put it into words. I'm looking forward to the next challenge.

"I just tried to be patient and set up as many birdie chances as possible and see if I could hole putts.

"I had nothing to lose in this position (the play-off), it was just a driver all day. I hit three good approach shots into 18 and got it done on the third hole."

Højgaard started the day a shot off the lead but put a beautiful approach to seven feet at the first for a birdie before his second at the par five second was even better, setting up a 12 foot putt for eagle and a two shot lead.

Paratore had made his birdie on the second and he used the slope to put his second shot on the fourth to two feet and join the group in second.

Højgaard played a slightly clumsy chip on the fourth and then found an awkward stance for his second at the fifth for a second bogey in a row.

Ahead at the sixth, Paratore holed a very long right to lefter down the slope to take the lead and a two putt birdie on the par five seventh put him two ahead.

He drove to the side of the short par four ninth to turn in 31 but the chasing pack were gathering and when he three putted the next, he was soon in a five way tie for the lead.

Højgaard was in that group as he holed a 50 footer on the tenth and Rozner was soon also at 18 under as he mounted a wonderful comeback after bogeying the first and third.

He took advantage of the driveable par four fifth and par five seventh before adding further gains at the tenth and 11th.

The group at 18 under swelled to seven players but Rozner broke out of it with a two putt birdie on the 14th.

Paratore failed to get up and down on the 13th but recovered on the next before birdieing the 18th thanks to a beautiful chip to set the clubhouse target.

A two putt birdie from Højgaard on the last put him at 19 under and when Rozner could only make par after laying up, we were heading for extra holes, where it became a two horse race as Paratore found the water on the first trip back up the last.

South African Louis de Jager carded a brilliant bogey free 64 to finish at 18 under alongside Belgian Thomas Detry, Scot Grant Forrest and Frenchman Benjamin Hebert, with all four men being top of the leaderboard at one point.

Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist finished at 17 under, a shot clear of countryman Julien Guerrier, South African Oliver Bekker, American Sihwan Kim and Scot Connor Syme.