Gavins secures dramatic Ras Al Khaimah Championship victory

Daniel Gavins holed an enormous putt at the 18th to win his second DP World Tour title in memorable fashion as the 2023 Ras Al Khaimah Championship reached a dramatic conclusion.

The 31-year-old held a two-shot lead as he headed to the 18th tee but found the water twice at the last to seriously dent his chances of winning the title.

But with nearest challenger Alexander Björk finishing his round with a bogey up ahead, Gavins had a double-bogey putt from around 30 feet to set the new target at 17 under par.

And he duly holed it to limit the damage to two dropped shots, but there were still twists and turns to come as third-round leader Zander Lombard gave himself an eagle chance on the last to potentially force a play-off.

But South African Lombard narrowly missed his putt from 24 feet to hand Gavins a second title to add to the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf Management crown he won in 2021.

“I thought I had (given the tournament away),” said Gavins, who closed with a roller-coaster 69 that contained eight birdies – including five in a row from the second hole – as well as three bogeys and his closing double bogey.

“I put two in the water and thought ‘Well that’s one way to end the tournament really’. When I sunk the putt and then went to the back of the green and saw that I was actually winning still, it was kind of a big shock.

“It’s only the start of the year so there’s a lot of golf to play. If I can keep on gaining confidence from positions like this, that’s all I can do. It feels great.”

Björk and Lombard were in a tie for second on 16 under, with Adrian Meronk and Thorbjørn Olesen another shot further back.

Meanwhile, Grassroots initiatives were at the forefront during the event with children from Ajman Academy and Ras Al Khaimah Academy visiting Al Hamra Golf Club and being treated to introductory golf clinics as well as taking in the action on course. The Emirates Golf Federation and Emirates Schools Establishment also welcomed more than 30 children from local schools to experience the tournament and gain taster golf lessons ahead of the launch of the Future Falcons National Junior Development Programme in the Emirate which will see golf become part of the physical education curriculum.

Sustainability was also a key focus of the tournament, with a range of environmentally responsible initiatives being implemented.  Al Hamra was the first golf club in the region to remove single use plastic and spectators this were encouraged to bring their own water bottles while reusable No More Bottles were for sale at the tournament.  The club has also removed 200 sprinkler heads, resulting in a 25% reduction in water while an automated irrigation system further reduces water usage. Wicked, who were responsible for all of the temporary structures at the event, reuse building materials and linings for a lifespan of 10 years while plywood skimming is repurposed by making it into packing and ground protection. Carpets will be donated to local charities once the tournament is finished.

Implementing sustainable practices is part of the European Tour group’s commitment to Driving Golf Further in an environmentally and socially sustainable way, ensuring the DP World Tour has a positive long-term impact on the courses, countries and the communities it visits.

The European Tour group became the first professional golf Tour to pledge towards net zero carbon emissions when they signed the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework, and the Framework’s Race to Zero pledge – requiring all signatories to commit to reducing direct emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2040.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, declared 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’ with the country set to host the COP 28 Climate Change Conference later this year.

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