FRANCE’S RAPHAEL JACQUELIN ended a four-year wait for his third European Tour title by winning the weather-delayed Sicilian Open earlier.
A two-and-a-half hour delay due to lightning yesterday forced the leaders to play an extra day and Jacquelin held off a spirited challenge from England’s Anthony Wall in the tournament’s inaugural edition.
Only one shot separated the pair when darkness forced them to abandon play through 12 holes yesterday. Wall twice wiped out the deficit early today, but double bogeyed the penultimate hole to give the 36-year-old Jacquelin the €166,660 winner’s prize.
Jacquelin finished at 12-under, with Wall one shot behind, while Jose Manuel Lara of Spain and Joel Sjoholm of Sweden shared third, five shots back, on the Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa course.
Jacquelin’s last win came at the Asian Open in 2007, and this victory vaults him back into the top 100 of the world rankings. “It feels great, as you would expect it to feel,” Jacquelin said.
“But it was not easy. Anthony made a couple of birdies and put the pressure on me right from the start.
“I actually felt a little bit tired this morning and my ball-striking wasn’t as good as it has been but I suppose with a 5 a.m. wake-up call then I was expecting that. But I stayed patient and made a good birdie on the 14th which was perfect and then he made a mistake on 17 and that was it, although I had to make a good four at the last.”
With local standouts Francesco and Edoardo Molinari and Matteo Manassero not entered, the top Italian finisher was 25-year-old Lorenzo Gagli in a tie for fifth, seven shots back.
Winning Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie finished in a tie for 26th, 10 shots behind.
The tour now heads to Spain for the Andalucia Open in Malaga. Both Molinari brothers and Manassero are expected to play the Italian Open in Turin in June.