|2023||Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea||Pablo Larrazabal|
2023: Pablo Larrazabal
The 2023 edition of this event produced a thrilling finish, with a host of players in contention deep into the final round. In the end, it was Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal who finished the strongest to land an eighth career DP World Tour victory, and first since picking up the 2022 ISPS Handa Championship on home soil.
Antoine Rozner of France was the early pacesetter in Korea, with the Frenchman’s sizzling 63 taking him to the head of the opening-day leaderboard. Larrazábal started well with a 68, before keeping himself in contention with another solid 70 on Friday. Saturday then really put the players to the test, with the blustery conditions seeing many begin to struggle. Larrazábal coped better than most – posting a 1-under 71, which represented an excellent score relative to the field, and saw him head into Sunday just one shot adrift of leader Robert MacIntyre.
Birdies at the par 5 third and seventh erased that deficit, seeing Larrazábal reach the turn in a five-way tie for the lead. A bogey at 10 proved to be a mere hiccup, as the 39-year-old stormed back with four birdies in the space of the next five holes to move into a decisive 3-shot lead with only three to play. The pivotal shot in that sequence came from the tee at 15 – Larrazábal’s ball seemingly set to sail out of bounds, only to catch a fortunate bounce and find the cart path. Not one to pass up such a lucky break, Larrazábal found the fairway with his second, before firing a laser-like approach to around two feet and making birdie.
An error-free trio of pars was then enough to see Larrazábal comfortably over the line, with Dane Marcus Helligkilde two shots back in a solo second, and local hero Park Sanghyun, Spain’s Jorge Campillo, Dutchman Joost Luiten, and Scott Jamieson of Scotland a shot further adrift in a tie for third.
An early $308,791.74 birthday present for Larrazábal, who would turn 40 on 15th May. With this win, he also jumped 57 spots to number 13 in the Race to Dubai.