Johnston claims maiden European Tour win in Valderrama


Andrew Johnston claimed the first European Tour win of his career with a one-shot victory in the Open de Espana on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Englishman held off the challenge of Joost Luiten in Valderrama with a one-under final round of 70 to become the first man to win a European Tour event after finishing over par in three years.

Not since Justin Rose was crowned US Open champion in Merion three years ago had an over-par score been enough to win a European Tour title, but Johnston was able to celebrate victory despite finishing one over.

You have to go back 20 years for a winner who ended the week over par in a regular event on the tour before Johnston's tense triumph, with Ian Woosnam the last player to achieve that feat in the Scottish Open.

Johnston lost his card following a loss of form and fitness in 2012, but picked up a cheque for EUR333,330 after making three birdies and just two bogeys following back-to-back rounds of 74.

Luiten has now carded a top-10 finish in five of the eight events he has entered this year, but was unable to end his wait for a first victory since September 2014 following a closing level-par 71.

The Dutchman made gains at the fourth and fifth holes, but dropped shots at the third and 11th proved to be costly as he fell short in Andalucia.

Martin Kaymer had opened up a two-shot lead with a birdie at the third, but faltered and dropped shots at the seventh and 13th before also bogeying the final two holes.

Tournament host Sergio Garcia carded a magnificent closing four-under 67 to finish two shots back in third, but the damage had been done by a first round of 74 and a 75 on Saturday.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera had taken a one-shot lead into the final round, but the Frenchman bogeyed five of the first seven holes and finished with a 75 to end up tied for sixth.