Jordan Smith moved in to the top 20 in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai with a thrilling playoff win over defending champion Alexander Levy of France at the Porsche European Open in Germany.
The 24-year-old claimed 333,330 points in what was his first victory in his 25th event to move from 42nd to 18th place in the rankings and ups his season total to 864,963 in the Race to Dubai. The Englishman won the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge as well as the prestigious Ras Al Khaimah 2016 Golf Challenge in the UAE on his way to topping the 2016 Road to Oman rankings.
This latest triumph in Germany cements a spot for the man from Somerset in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.
Nick Tarratt, Director of the European Tour International Dubai office, said: “We congratulate Jordan on his maiden European Tour victory and look forward to welcoming him to Dubai in November for the first time. This is a fantastic result from a man who topped the Challenge Tour rankings last year, winning the Road to Oman.”
— Thomas Bjørn (@thomasbjorngolf) July 30, 2017
Smith went into the final day at the stunning Green Eagle Golf Courses in Hamburg ahead by a single shot. However an exciting final-round battle ensued between him and his playing partner, France’s Alexander Levy who was looking to defend the title he won in a playoff last year.
The Frenchman arrived at the 72nd hole leading Smith by a shot but a gutsy up and down birdie from the Englishman and a par for Levy meant that with both men finishing on 13 under par, extra holes were needed to decide a winner.
Levy had a chance to seal the win in the first playoff hole as he faced a three-foot birdie putt after Smith was already in with par but his effort lipped out so the two headed back to the 18th tee to contest a second playoff hole.
In the encore, Levy found trouble with his tee shot and was forced to lay-up while Smith played his second shot to the reachable par five right next to the green. He followed that up with a majestic chip and when Levy failed to hole his 15-footer for birdie, Smith was left with a tap-in to enter the winner’s circle on the European Tour for the very first time.
EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME
“I’ve loved it. It’s been nerve-wracking at times but I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Smith.
“It’s all a bit surreal. Obviously the Challenge Tour last year and the EuroPro the year before that. It’s been fun. I had a really good start to the year and the first aim was just to secure my Tour card, which I managed to do. And then the second goal was to win an event, which I’ve managed to do.”
Levy’s runner-up finish sees him further solidify his place in the Race to Dubai’s top 20 as he moves from 19th to 14th place in the rankings with a season tally of 1,038,501 points.
Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, South Africa’s Zander Lombard and Sweden’s Jens Fahrbring all tied in fifth place and as a result they gained 71,600 points each. Otaegui, who is a Dubai resident, breaks into the top 60 in the rankings for the first time as he moves from 63rd to a season best 55th in the Race to Dubai, Lombard climbs from 133rd to 106th place, while Fahrbring rises from 131st to 103rd.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 31, 2017
Meanwhile Sweden’s Johan Edfors shared third place with Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman to claim 112,600 each, with Edfors progressing from 227th to 143rd while Rahman jumped from 235th to 145th.
Eighth place was shared by England’s Ashley Chesters, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen with each of them claiming 42,900 points. Chesters moved from 105th to 97th, Ramsay solidified his place in 20th after upping his season tally to 845,912 points and Ilonen jumped from 153rd to 135th.
South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, Spain’s Nacho Elvira and Germany’s Alexander Knappe all shared 12th place and in the process each of them gained 31,650 points. Schwartzel moved from 16th to 15th, Gallacher progressed from 84th to 77th, Elvira moved from 93rd to 85th while Knappe jumped from 143rd to 133rd.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood remains at the summit of the Rankings with 3,690,659 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,741,107 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,680,971.