Pieters did it again! He won Czech Masters for the second time

Thomas Pieters is a two-time winner of the D+D REAL Czech Masters. After his first triumph in 2015 he strode to his second victory at the sixth year of the tournament when he played 69 shots on Sunday, winning over Adri Arnaus with a score of -19.

Pieters has thus won half of his four victories on the European Tour at Albatross, where the twenty-seven-year old Belgian has played at all six years of the tournament. In addition to his two victories, he came in second in 2016 and last year he tied for ninth place.

“I’m relieved. It’s been a long time, almost three years, since I last won. It’s a great feeling to win again. It was a long road, and I didn’t feel good, both about my swing and off the course,” said the re-established champion of Czech Masters.

“It’s difficult for everyone. Everyone says you should win two, three times a year. That’s nice to hear, but sometimes it can come across as negative,” he continued.

“Today I had it under control almost all day, but Adri (Arnaus) is a big player. The finish he showed off! And what he pulled off on the 16th hole? Then he created an opening for himself on the 17th and played a birdie on the 18th. He made hard for me, hats off to him. Now I’m going to race home and celebrate a little,” said the happy winner.

The heavy hitter from Antwerp entered the final round leading by one shot ahead of Arnaus, with whom he made up the last flight. At first, the Spaniard did not put the pressure on Pieters too much, passing the first seven holes with +1. It was last year’s winner Andrea Pavan, who, though he was eight holes away, put the Belgian under pressure from afar.

Pavan played eight birdies on 15 holes when at sixteen of his long birdie putt just nicked the hole. This caused him to miss the opportunity to catch up with Pieters at the top of the leaderboard with a score of -18.

The Italian then bogeyed on the 17th, but still scored a great 65 strokes, and with a -16 score he got another year’s top result when he finished tied for third place, together with Englishman Sam Horsfield.

Pieters played just fine, leaving the top nine with a score of -3 for four birdies and one bogey. He knocked out another birdie at the twelfth hole, when he missed a put to the eagle before it. At the time, he was only being attacked by the rejuvenated Arnaus, who played an eagle on the twelve.

One hole later, however, Pieters rescued his par with a three-meter, while Arnaus needed two puts for the bogey from the same place. This gave Pieters the lead five holes out, by four holes already and the game seemed decided.

But the plot thickened. The Belgian drove into the rough on the 14th and 15th, but he still managed to save his par each time. On the 15th he even did so with a penalty shot.

Pieters played a tee on the middle of the green on a par 3 sixteen, but he almost went off with it and left with a bogey, while Arnaus shot a meter from the pole from a tee, and made a birdie. Suddenly it was two shots, two holes to the end.

Pieters then missed the fairway on the 17th, while Arnaus played with precision and hit the green a moment later. But the Belgian made his best shot of the day at a difficult moment.

From the rough, 200 meters from the green, he played phenomenally to three and a half meters from the flag. His putt missed the birdie, but since Arnaus also played par, Pieters still made the 18th with a two-shot lead. There he played a tranquil par while the Spaniard improved his score by one shot with a final birdie.

However, this did not change the fact that a short while later, Pieters picked up the Czech Masters Cup for the second time in his career and added 166,660 euros to his account.

Swedish veteran Robert Karlsson finished tenth at Albatross and scored the best result on the European Tour this season. Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington finished the Czech Masters in a tie for 58th place.