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Larrazabal hopes mini-tour win pays off in Seville
The two-time European Tour winner played the first two rounds of the three-round event with amateur Javier Ballesteros, the 21-year-old son of the late Seve Ballesteros. And with longtime girlfriend Galar Ortin as caddie, and the company of family and friends, Larrazabal could not have been happier winning by four strokes.
“It is always good to win no matter where you play and even though it was my first-ever victory here in Spain the feeling of winning is always the same,” he said.
“There was that same pressure I’ve had many times before coming down the last hole, and it was a little bit like the way I felt in winning the French Open (in 2008) and last year’s BMW International Open.
“It was the first time ever as a professional or an amateur I have won in Spain. I had four second-place finishes before on the Spanish Tour and I was third in 2003 on the Alps Tour. Having Galar on the bag and with all my family and friends in Barcelona made it that extra special.”
Ballesteros died early on the second day of the tournament, and Larrazabal was the leading Spaniard heading into the last day two strokes off the lead, seeking to deliver for Spain an emotional victory.
However, a final-round 71 left Larrazabal in a share of third and three strokes from South African Thomas Aiken.
“Thomas and I had a good fight on that Sunday and all during the week,” Larrazabal said. “There was double emotion for me as it was being held on my home course and we were all sad. I found it very difficult to concentrate as everyone was thinking of Seve and many were hoping I would win.
“But then the Spanish Open is always a special week for all the Spanish players and after winning last week in Barcelona, it would be wonderful now if I could win here in Seville.”
“But let’s just wait and see how he goes as he still is studying law at university. I think the day will come when we will see Javier out here, but as I said to him, there is no rush.”
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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