It was a second DP World Tour title for Nicolai Højgaard at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital, where he held off a back nine surge from Jordan Smith, to win by four shots.
Højgaard looked to be cruising to victory early on the final day, when he extended his overnight lead from three to five shots, with an eagle on the 3rd hole.
A double bogey six at the par-4 9th hole, followed by a bogey at the par-4 12th, saw the five-shot lead evaporate and he was suddenly trailing Smith by two shots.
The young Dane was not rattled and showed his grit and determination when he birdied the 13th hole and hit a simply magnificent second shot into the par-5 14th, to roll in his 13 foot putt and walk off with eagle. This opened up a two-shot lead.
From there in, Højgaard added two more birdies on his way home, at the penultimate and final holes of the tournament, to close with a round of 68 and finish the week on 24 under par.
After holing his putt on the par-5 18th, Højgaard said: “It’s very sweet. It’s been such a tough grind today. Got off to a good start and then I struggled quite a bit.”
“I had to dig deep out there and the turning point was obviously on 13 where I saw Jordan Smith had made a run and was two up when I was on the green at 13 and I stepped up with a clutch finish so I’m really happy”.
“I’m quite excited for the future now. I’m not really thinking about it, but obviously when you’re playing good you start looking at all the Rankings. I’m motivated to keep going and get better and hopefully quality for the big tournaments.”
Nicolai now has two DP World Tour titles to his name, having made his breakthrough win at the DS Automobiles Italian Open last year. This victory at Al Hamra Golf Club moves him up to 67th on the Official World Golf Rankings and 9th on the DP World Tour rankings.
It was also a fantastic week for Jordan Smith, who finished solo 2nd, having shot a final round 66 (-6). This result moved Jordan up to 7th on the DP World Tour rankings, following on from his tied 9th and tied 12th place finishes at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.