Van de Velde back to winning ways following Ageas HKPGA Championship triumph
It has taken five years but for Jean Van de Velde the wait is over. He is a winner again.
The 44-year-old tore apart the field at the Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship late March, winning by eight shots after a final-round 69 over the Gary Player-designed North Course at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau.
Dutchman Guido Van der Walk, an Asian Tour regular, placed second, while Hong Kong stalwart Derek Fung lead the local challenge, his three-round total of 209 (three-under-par) earning him third spot.
Combating jetlag and a lack of recent practice, the Frenchman showed the kind of form that took him to the brink of an Open Championship victory – but unlike at Carnoustie in 1999, where he famously squandered a three-shot lead at the final hole before losing out in a play-off to Paul Lawrie, the Frenchman finished with a flourish.
“It’s great to win again, I’ve had a lot of fun this week,” said Van de Velde, whose last victory came at the Madeira Islands Open in 2006. “It’s the icing on the cake. I haven’t played much golf at all in recent years, but when I have played I have done pretty decent, so this is very pleasing.”
Van de Velde was nearly flawless throughout the 54-hole tournament, which was sponsored by Ageas, one of the world's largest insurance companies, for the second year in a row. Opening with a brilliant 65 at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, which tied the course record, the two-time European Tour winner took the championship by the scruff of the neck with a 66 over the Old Course at Fanling on the second day.
Leading by six heading into the final 18 holes, Van de Velde put the tournament beyond doubt with two early birdies and was able to cruise to victory. (Cont..)
Written by Alex Jenkins
Photography by Daniel Wong
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