Aguilar takes title at Laguna National
SINGAPORE (AP) — Felipe Aguilar thought a birdie on the final hole might give him a chance to win. He did one better Sunday by holing out a pitching wedge from 142 yards for eagle, capping a remarkable 28 on the back nine to win The Championship at Laguna National.
Aguilar closed with a 10-under 62 and wound up winning by one shot over Anders Hansen of Denmark and American David Lipsky, who were two groups behind and couldn’t catch him.
“Yesterday I thought I had no chance,” Aguilar said. “Today I said to my caddie on the 17th after I made a birdie, ‘If we can make a birdie on 18 we can put some pressure on the leader,’ and he said ‘What about making a 2?’ I said to him the way I had been hitting the ball I could well do 2 and I did. It’s very, very special.”
The flagstick was to the left toward the water on the 18th green. Aguilar’s pitching wedge landed about a yard short of the hole and rolled into the center of the cup.
Hansen, who shared the 54-hole lead, was the last player who had a chance to force a playoff with Aguilar, who finished at 22-under 266. Hansen failed to birdie the 17th or 18th hole and wound up with a 67.
Hansen, who recently returned to the tour after a six-month layoff due to wrist surgery, had led by three shots after a birdie on the 12th hole but struggled on the final holes with a bogey on the 16th to fall out of a share of the lead, and two pars at the finish.
“What can you say? I heard (Aguilar) finished 2-2. It’s just one of those days,” Hansen said. “It’s just really, really disappointing.”
Lipsky also tried to keep pace with three birdies on his back nine, but he fell just short of capturing his first European Tour title.
“I was still trying to give it a run even on the last hole,” he said. “I was still trying to do everything I can to win.”
Aguilar started the day four shots back in a tie for seventh, but started to climb into contention with four straight birdies to start the back nine. After a birdie on the par-5 15th, he then sank a 10-footer for another birdie on the 17th and holed his approach shot for eagle on the 18th.
“I got a bit lucky,” he said. “I hit one of my best shots on 17 and then again on 18.”
The Chilean, who’s been dealing with a sore wrist he injured while mountain biking, won for just the second time on the European Tour, his previous title coming in Indonesia in 2008.
“It’s been a bit of a drought for six years. I’ve lost a couple of times in play-offs and had a couple of top-3s and top-5s, but never was able to get the round going on the last day, so it is nice to finally do it,” he said.
Hansen was aiming for his first title since the Joburg Open in 2009. He was playing in just his fourth event since surgery last year and was coming off a tie for fifth last week in the China Open.
“Obviously, the last two weeks have been really, really good,” he said. “I’ve hit the ball really well and putted nicely so there is not much to say. I can’t really blame myself for this.”
India’s Rahil Gangjee birdied his final five holes to finish in fourth place at 19 under, a stroke ahead of England’s Chris Wood (67) in sole fifth.
Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand couldn’t keep up the form that saw him lead after the first two rounds and share the lead with Hansen after the third. He slumped to a 74 on Sunday after two bogeys and a double bogey, falling into a tie for 11th.