Tiger Woods reiterated his delight that he is even able to be back out on the course after he made the cut at the US PGA Championship.

Woods had a difficult first round at Southern Hills County Club, carding 74 to leave him with plenty of work to do to make the weekend.

Yet the 15-time major champion recovered in fine fashion on Friday, going round in 69 to leave him at three over and T53.

While a push for a fifth US PGA Championship title – and a first since 2007 – seems unlikely, Woods is relishing being back at the biggest events.

He returned at the Masters last month just over a year after suffering serious injuries in a car accident in California.

"Well, just the fact that I'm able to play golf again and play in our biggest championships," he said after his round on Friday.

"As I alluded to earlier, you guys all know, I'm not going to be playing a lot of tournaments going forward. They're going to be the biggest tournaments.

"I want to be able to play the major championships. I've always loved playing them.

"Coming back here to a place that I've had success on, to play against the best players in the world, that's what we all want to be able to do.

"Fortunately enough, I'm able to somehow do it. I've had a great PT staff that have put Humpty Dumpty back together."

Bubba Watson matched the lowest round in PGA Championship history as he shot 63 in his second round to propel himself up the leaderboard.

And Watson's effort is something Woods hopes he can replicate over the weekend to put himself in contention.

"I'm hoping I can shoot a number like Bubba did today," he added. "That's where my mind is at right now. I've got to do some things physically to get myself there tomorrow and it will be a quick turnaround.

"That's the reward you get for just making the cut. You get to tee off early the next day, and hopefully I can get it in. The weather is supposed to be a little more difficult and be a little more testy, and hopefully that's the case.

"If that's the case, hopefully I can post a good round and at least move up the board, get myself within striking distance on Sunday. I'm pretty far back, but you just never know.

"Major championships are hard to win. We've seen guys with big leads or have made big comebacks, so you just never know."

Will Zalatoris says he "got away with murder" after overcoming a rough start on day two to take the lead of the US PGA Championship, finishing five under after a superb performance.

The San Franciscan topped the leaderboard at Southern Hills Country Club with nine under after two rounds, as Rory McIlroy faded from the summit and Tiger Woods scraped the overall cut.

The 25-year-old, who is chasing his first major after a second-place finish at the Masters last year, made one under par through the first nine before powering through the pack with a turkey between the 11th and 13th.

But Zalatoris felt he made a lucky escape after a few wayward shots early on looked to have checked any momentum he might have built.

"I got away with murder a few times today for sure, especially starting off the day hitting the left trees and hitting it to a kick-in," he said.

"Same thing on 17, being able to get out of there with birdie where it was looking like I was going to be making 5.

"10 was really the big one, compounding two errors and hitting one really good golf shot and saving par, I just kept the round going today.

" I made a bunch of six or eight-footers for par that kept the day going, and obviously being bogey free around this place is pretty nice.

"We lucked out with the draw for sure. I played the last eight holes with not much wind, but take it when you can get it."

Zalatoris is teeing up a tilt at a maiden triumph in one of golf's four most-storied events, having nabbed T8 at the PGA last year and T6 at the US Open the year before.

"They're tough golf courses that allows my ball-striking to really give me the best chances," he added on his prospects in majors.

"Obviously these greens aren't easy, but hitting them on the right tiers and being able to have the 15-to 25-footers where I'm not going up and down slopes is huge.

"But the other part, too, I think is just I've kind of had an attitude with the majors, especially since the Masters, where I wanted to enjoy the experience as much as I could.

"I don't want to leave anything. Looking back from 20 years from now I don't want to regret my attitude or anything like that.

"So I just make sure that after really every single shot I hit, it's just... I don't want to say life or death, but make sure I'm fully committed to everything that I do because we only get four of them a year."

Tiger Woods says Rory McIlroy "made it look very easy" after the Northern Irishman set the early pace on day one of the US PGA Championship.

Seeking a first major in eight years, McIlroy carded five-under 65 to take a one-shot lead into the clubhouse at Southern Hills on Thursday.

The 33-year-old, who won this event in 2012 and 2014, closed with a birdie on the final hole – his seventh of the day – to put himself in strong contention for another title.

He teed off in a marquee group alongside Jordan Spieth and Woods, who carded 74 and 72 respectively, with the latter impressed by what he saw from McIlroy.

"Obviously you can shoot something in the mid-60s, Rory proved that today," Woods told Sky Sports. "He made it look very easy. 

"He had a couple of shots where he slipped away and he still shot five under and made it look very easy."

McIlroy, who finished second in last month's Masters after shooting a record-equalling eight-under 64 on the final day, is not getting carried away just yet.

"I came in here knowing that my game was in good shape," McIlroy said. "So it's just a matter of going out there and executing the shots that you know that you can.

"Today I did that very well and I just need to try to replicate that tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday and not get ahead of myself, but it was a great start."

While McIlroy is in a strong position, Woods faces an uphill battle to make the cut, as he did at the Masters last month, but he is not giving up hope of a big recovery on Friday.

"It can be done, I've witnessed it first-hand, so hopefully I can put together something similar tomorrow and get myself back in this tournament," he said.

The 15-time major winner is competing in just his second tournament since sustaining serious leg and foot injuries in a car accident 15 months ago.

Woods felt some discomfort towards the end of an erratic opening round, which ended with him nine strokes behind McIlroy.

"Physically, I've felt better," he told Sky Sports. "Emotionally, I've actually felt better too. 

"It was frustrating. I got off to a great start today, I did exactly what I needed to do starting out the round, but I did not keep it going.

"I hit a lot of bad iron shots, put myself in a lot of bad spots and never really gave myself any birdie putts. 

"I actually felt comfortable with the driver, I hit a lot of fairways with it, but from there it wasn't very good. Most of my bunker shots I hit were long, came out hotter than I thought. 

"But predominately I just hit bad iron shots. That's not normally how I play, but today unfortunately that's kind of what it was."

Tiger Woods made a bright start to his US PGA Championship quest as he headed out in esteemed company with Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.

The star trio played to a bumper early-morning gallery at Southern Hills, Tulsa, where Woods won his fourth and most recent US PGA Championship title in 2007.

Woods had a birdie at his first hole and was one under through three holes, with Spieth and McIlroy soon joining him on that mark.

Starting at the 10th hole, all three began well off the tee, with Woods receiving by far the loudest reception and hitting the longest drive of the trio at 339 yards.

"Do you mind giving me some breathing space please. Back off a little bit," Woods said towards a camera crew as he walked down the first fairway.

He fired a sweet wedge to three feet away from the hole and made no mistake from that range, holing for an immediate birdie.

Woods found the heart of the green at the short 11th, his second, and sent his putt to just six inches away, tapping in for par.

He had a birdie chance at 12 from around 20 feet away but pushed it just right of the hole. McIlroy and Spieth made their first gains at that hole.

Speaking on Tuesday, Woods said he could "definitely" be a title contender, despite this being just his second tournament back since the February 2021 car crash that saw him sustain serious leg and foot injuries. He made the cut at the Masters last month, before fading as the hilly Augusta course took a physical toll on the 46-year-old former world number one.

"My team did just an amazing job just to get me to a point where I could play the Masters and I was able to have that opportunity to play," Woods said. "Right after each round, it was like getting back to the house and we have an ice bath ready for you, and off you go, get on the treatment table and let's keep working at it, keep things going, and it was tough. It was hard. It was hard on all of us.

"But I've gotten stronger since then. But still, it's still going to be sore and walking is a challenge. I can hit golf balls, but the challenge is walking. It's going to be that way for the foreseeable future for sure."

John Daly, the 1991 US PGA champion, was two under through seven holes and held a share of the lead with Robert MacIntyre, Max Homa, Y.E. Yang, Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris early in the first round.

Phil Mickelson's legacy has not been ruined by his contentious comments regarding the LIV Golf Invitational, according to Jon Rahm.

Mickelson has not played since February after he was criticised for comments about the Saudi Arabian-backed breakaway competition, which holds its first event in London next month.

The 51-year-old apologised for those comments and decided to take a break from golf, though he was one of a number of high-profile players to then request a release from the PGA Tour for the inaugural LIV event at the Centurion Club from June 9 to 11.

Mickelson's representatives confirmed at the time that he had not definitively decided on playing in the tournament, or indeed the US PGA Championship, which tees off on Thursday in Tulsa.

The American is the reigning champion, having become the oldest player to win a major when he triumphed at Kiawah Island in 2021, but last week the tournament organisers confirmed he had withdrawn.

While Mickelson's withdrawal may well boost the chances of Rahm winning at Southern Hills Country Club, the world number two is sad not to see one of golf's biggest stars at the event.

However, he believes six-time major winner Mickelson should be able to return to the PGA Tour when he sees fit.

Rahm told Sky Sports: "He's given his life to the sport. Nobody has been better to the fans over a 30-year span and nobody has done more for the Tour than he has, right.

"Obviously Tiger [Woods] took his game to many places, but Phil won over 40 events and six majors.

"That characteristic smile and thumbs up are synonymous with Phil Mickelson. It's a name that is known worldwide.

"I don't think that a couple comments at the wrong time should dictate the legacy of a man.

"If anything, we're in America, the land of opportunity, right? If there's a place where things can be forgiven, and you can get back to where you need to be, it's here. I think given time and the proper course of action, that can happen."

That being said, Rahm understands that Mickelson ultimately brought the criticism on himself.

"He said what he said, he brought it on himself, so it needs to come from him to take it back to where it should be," Rahm added.

Tiger Woods has decided to leave great rival Phil Mickelson alone with his thoughts after the reigning US PGA Championship winner pulled out of his planned title defence. 

Amid a continuing backlash over Mickelson's comments about the Saudi-backed breakaway tour, the 51-year-old has elected to skip this week's major. 

Mickelson has not played since February after angering many in the game with his remarks about the Super Golf League – now officially called the LIV Golf Invitational Series.  

The veteran American, who became the oldest major winner in history when he triumphed at Kiawah Island last year, said Saudi Arabia has "a horrible record on human rights" but added he was willing to commit to the league as it was "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates". 

Mickelson has apologised but missed the Masters and is not ready to return to the PGA Tour yet. He, along with several other golfers, has asked for a release from the PGA Tour to compete in the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which is due to start next month, but those requests have been refused. 

Woods was asked about Mickelson in a news conference at Southern Hills, Tulsa, ahead of the US PGA getting under way on Thursday. 

"I have not reached out to him. I have not spoken to him," Woods said. "A lot of it has not to do with, I think, personal issues. It was our viewpoints of how the Tour should be run and could be run, and what players are playing for and how we are playing for it. I have a completely different stance. 

"I don't know what he's going through. But I know the comments he made about the Tour and the way that it should be run, it could be run; it could be run differently and all the different financials that could have happened, I just have a very different opinion on that. And so no, I have not reached out to him." 

Woods said it was "always disappointing" for a major champion to be absent rather than defending a title. 

"Phil has said some things that I think a lot of us who are committed to the Tour and committed to the legacy of the Tour have pushed back against, and he's taken some personal time, and we all understand that," Woods said. 

"But I think that some of his views on how the Tour could be run, should be run, [there has] been a lot of disagreement there." 

Woods described Mickelson's comments about the PGA Tour as "polarising" and pointed to the PGA Tour's long history, as well as its current lucrative events, as reason to show it full support. 

The 46-year-old pointed to how Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer had been instrumental in the Tour breaking away from the PGA of America in 1968, creating greater earning potential for the players. 

"I just think that what Jack and Arnold have done in starting the Tour and breaking away from the PGA of America and creating our Tour ... I just think there's a legacy to that," Woods said. 

"I still think that the Tour has so much to offer, so much opportunity. I believe in legacies. I believe in major championships. I believe in big events, comparisons to historical figures of the past. 

"There's plenty of money out here. The Tour is growing. But it's just like any other sport. It's like tennis. You have to go out there and earn it. You've got to go out there and play for it. We have opportunity to go ahead and do it. It's just not guaranteed up front." 

Woods, in his second major since returning from injuries sustained in a horrific February 2021 car crash, is feeling increasingly optimistic his body can help his skill set deliver a 16th major championship. 

"I feel like I can, definitely. I just have to go out there and do it," he said. "I have to do my work. Starts on Thursday and I'll be ready." 

Tiger Woods will be joined in a golfing super-group by Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy for the first two rounds of the US PGA Championship.

The trio, who between them have landed 22 titles at the majors, will begin on Thursday at 08:11 local time (13:11GMT) at Southern Hills, the Oklahoma course that is staging the tournament for a fifth time.

Woods, who won the last of his four US PGA titles at Southern Hills in 2007, has played only one tournament this season, making the cut at the Masters in April.

He is continuing to recover from the foot and leg injuries he sustained in a car crash in February of last year, but there were flickers of the old Woods during his performance at Augusta.

Woods said in a news conference on Tuesday: "It's better than the last time I played a tournament, which is good

"We've been working hard. I have days when it is tough and days where we can push through, but we keep working at it."

Woods has 15 majors to his name, McIlroy has four, including two at the US PGA, and Spieth needs a win at this event to complete a career grand slam, having won each of the other three majors once.

McIlroy believes 46-year-old Woods would not have entered this week if he did not believe it possible to contend come Sunday.

"Six weeks is a long enough time to recover from that week [at the Masters] and then build yourself back up again. He certainly hasn't chosen two of the easiest walks in golf to come back to, Augusta and here," McIlroy said.

"But he's stubborn, he's determined. This is what he lives for. He lives for these major championships, and if he believes he can get around 18 holes, he believes he can win."

Sam Horsfield scooped the third title of his DP World Tour career as the Englishman triumphed at the Soudal Open in Belgium.

The 25-year-old won two tournaments in three weeks in August 2020, and a closing three-under-par 68 at Antwerp's Rinkven International course gave him a two-shot triumph on Sunday.

Horsfield, who has spent much of his life living in the United States, has only recently returned to action after a three-month injury lay-off and this was just his second event on tour since January.

He looked sharp regardless of that long spell of inactivity, and it was a thrill to get over the line and clinch another trophy.

Horsfield battled playing partner Ryan Fox of New Zealand over the closing 18 holes, with Fox's challenge falling away as he made three bogeys in the closing six holes to finish with a 71.

At 13 under par for the week, Horsfield finished two shots clear of Fox and Germany's Yannik Paul, who shared second place. Paul finished with a round of 69, made up of two birdies and 16 pars.

Horsfield said of the victory moment: "I was trying not to cry while I was over that little tap-in."

His girlfriend, Issi Bryon, has taken on bag duties in the absence of Horsfield's regular caddie, Mick Seaborn, this week. Horsfield on Saturday said his caddie had been "going through a tough time".

"Having Issi on the bag, it's been an amazing week," Horsfield said. "Mick's not here but I wish he was. I was able to do it for him and I'm so, so happy."

Lev Grinberg, a 14-year-old Ukrainian amateur golfer, became the second-youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event after shooting a brilliant 69 at the Soudal Open.

The teenager carded 70 in his opening round on Thursday on his first appearance at a European Tour event and followed that up with another superb display on Friday to make the cut tied for 29th position in Belgium on three under par.

Guan Tian-lang, at the 2013 Masters, is the only player to have made the cut at a European Tour event at a younger age (14 years and 169 days).

After his fine showing on Thursday, Grinberg had said: "I enjoyed myself out there. I played pretty good."

In 2021, Grinberg advanced to the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and he would have become the youngest player to feature in a men's major championship.

However, his second round was suspended due to weather and Grinberg subsequently withdrew to compete at a junior tournament in Florida.

Lev Grinberg, a 14-year-old Ukrainian amateur golfer, became the second-youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event after shooting a brilliant 69 at the Soudal Open.

The teenager carded 70 in his opening round on Thursday on his first appearance at a European Tour event and followed that up with another superb display on Friday to make the cut tied for 29th position in Belgium on three under par.

Guan Tian-lang, at the 2013 Masters, is the only player to have made the cut at a European Tour event at a younger age (14 years and 169 days).

After his fine showing on Thursday, Grinberg had said: "I enjoyed myself out there. I played pretty good."

In 2021, Grinberg advanced to the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and he would have become the youngest player to feature in a men's major championship.

However, his second round was suspended due to weather and Grinberg subsequently withdrew to compete at a junior tournament in Florida.

Greg Norman addressed Saudi Arabia's human rights record and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying: "We've all made mistakes."

Former golf world number one Norman is chief executive of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Investments. He insists that the business is independent and not answerable to Saudi Arabia, and has described the killing of Khashoggi as "reprehensible".

Norman was speaking after accusing the PGA Tour of being "anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive" for denying players permission to enter the opening LIV Golf Invitational series event next month.

The Australian, who twice won the Open Championship, is facing regular questioning about the Saudi funding of the new series, in light of widespread outrage over the death of Khashoggi and concerns raised over the country's human rights record.

Norman said of Khashoggi's 2018 death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul: "Everybody has owned up to it, right? It has been spoken about, from what I've read, going on what you guys reported. Take ownership, no matter what it is.

"Look, we've all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward."

US intelligence chiefs concluded in 2021 that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the mission to capture or kill Khashoggi. Bin Salman has strenuously denied this, but has said that "as a leader I must take responsibility".

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Norman said: "It's reprehensible what's happened with Khashoggi" and that Saudi Arabia is "making a cultural change".

"They want to change that culture and they are changing that culture, and you know how they're doing it? Golf," he said.

When it was pointed out to Norman that this appeared to be a case of "sportswashing", the 67-year-old denied this was the case, saying: "I'm not talking about sportswashing. They're changing their culture within their country."

Asked about reports of 81 men being executed in one day in Saudi Arabia in March 2022, Norman said: "I'm not going to get into politics. I don't want to get into that. But every country's got a cross to bear."

Norman on Tuesday revealed that the LIV Golf series had secured an additional $2billion in funding ahead and stated that several top players had said they would play without a release. The PGA Tour and European Tour have been reluctant to allow top stars to play in the inaugural LIV Golf event at Centurion Club from June 9-11.

Asked about the Saudi money and reminded of the country's human rights record, Norman said: "They're not my bosses, we're independent. I don't answer to Saudi Arabia, I don't answer to MBS [Bin Salman]."

Henrik Stenson has confirmed that Thomas Bjorn will be his first vice-captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Stenson will lead Europe at the next edition of golf's famous team tournament, which will take place at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

Bjorn captained a European team including Stenson in 2018, as they cruised to an emphatic 17.5-10.5 victory in Paris.

The Dane has been a vice-captain on four previous occasions, and a player three times.

"I'm delighted to be part of the whole Ryder Cup experience once again," said Bjorn.

"I probably thought that after 2018 that was it for me, but Henrik called me to talk about captaincy in general and that led into him asking me if I wanted to do another stint as vice-captain, which I agreed to. I'm excited to work with him."

"I have known Thomas for my whole career," said Stenson. "I trust him implicitly and I know any advice he will give me will be honest and direct. He will not simply tell me what he thinks I want to hear and that will be important, so I'm delighted to have him as my first vice-captain for Rome.

"Since the match itself is still over a year away, I know I am going to have a lot of conversations with him about all elements of the Ryder Cup from his experience, both as a vice-captain on previous occasions but also, obviously, as the captain in 2018 when we had a great result.

"I will be depending on him a lot and I'm really looking forward to those chats. He was very happy when I asked him. He was very honoured to be asked and happy to be part of Team Europe again and part of the journey with the players."

Bjorn has full belief in Stenson's captaincy, adding: "I think Henrik will be a fantastic captain. He is so well respected by players and by everyone in the game.

"He is a very hard-working golfer and somebody who is true to himself, and his team will represent that. He has a great sense of humour that the players will take to, and he is very well liked across the whole tour, not just the top where he has played his golf for so many years."

Tiger Woods has been included in the final field for the US PGA Championship next week, with Phil Mickelson returning from his self-enforced break to defend his title. 

After contesting his first event in 17 months at the Masters in April, 15-time major winner Woods will take part in the tournament at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. 

The 46-year-old finished 47th at Augusta, an impressive feat having almost lost his leg following a car accident Los Angeles in February 2021. 

Woods two weeks ago played a practise round at Southern Hills, which was the site of his 2007 US PGA Championship success. 

Reigning champion Mickelson will also be in the field when the second major of the year gets under way on May 19. 

Mickelson has not played since February after opting to take a break from the sport following the backlash to his controversial comments over the Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League – now officially called the LIV Golf Invitational Series. 

The 51-year-old said Saudi Arabia has "a horrible record on human rights", but added he was willing to commit to the league as it was "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates". Mickelson later apologised for his "reckless" comments. 

Lee Westwood confirmed he has requested to be released by the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in order to play in the inaugural event of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series.

Speculation around a breakaway association in golf started gathering a head of steam in 2019 but did not attain mainstream attention until last year, with former world number one Greg Norman appointed the CEO of LIV Golf in October.

LIV Golf is financed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and owns the Super Golf League (SGL) trademark.

While the idea of the SGL was referred to as "dead in the water" by Rory McIlroy in February after he, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm and several other high-profile players committed themselves to the PGA Tour, preparations for LIV Golf's series continued to press ahead.

No longer considered a "league", the series will consist of seven regular-season events and then a season-ending championship. A maximum of 48 players will make up 12 teams of four, with drafts set to determine the make-up of those groupings.

Regular events will play without a cut and a $20million (£16m) purse, plus an additional $5m (£4m) split between the best three teams, while the finale tournament is set to have €30m (£24m) up for grabs, plus $50m (£40m) in team prizes.

Westwood revealed in February he signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding the competition and on Wednesday confirmed he has asked the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to allow him to compete – starting with next month's inaugural event at Centurion Club in London – despite previous threats to blacklist so-called rebels.

"I've asked for a release from the PGA Tour and European Tour for the Centurion like many others have," Westwood told reporters at The Belfry ahead of the British Masters.

"I've asked for releases for tournaments for as long as I've been on tour. It's not the first release I've asked for. I've asked for many. Not heard anything back yet. Ball is in the European Tour's court and the PGA Tour's court for that matter."

 

Quizzed on the controversy around the event, Westwood continued: "This is my job. I do this for money. It's not the only reason, but if anybody comes along and gives any of us a chance at a pay rise, then you have to seriously consider it.

"It's being portrayed as an 'us and them', whereas the people from LIV Golf, all the reports I've seen, have said that they want to stand side-by-side.

"They are not going up against any of the really massive tournaments. They want everybody to be able to play, have options. They are not forcing anybody's hand, so I believe."

One of the main criticisms of the LIV Golf series relates to its financial backing by the PIF of Saudi Arabia, a country routinely decried for its poor human rights record.

Saudi Arabia's increasing investment in major sporting events is, according to Amnesty International, an example of "sportswashing" – using sport to improve a tarnished reputation.

While other sports have also received significant flak for Saudi involvement, Westwood thinks golf is being unfairly targeted.

He told Sky Sports: "We've played European Tour in Saudi Arabia and I've had releases from the PGA Tour to say I can play in Saudi Arabia, so it has been no problem to them in previous years.

"Formula One raced there. Newcastle United are owned partly by people from Saudi Arabia. There has been boxing there and I think there has been snooker and darts there as well.

"Golf's not the first sport to have links with Saudi Arabia, but it seems to be coming under more scrutiny than anyone else. Whether you think that's right or not is the individual's opinion.

"I think Saudi Arabia obviously know they've got issues. I think lots of countries around the world have got issues and I think they're trying to improve. They're trying to do it through sport, which a lot of places, a lot of countries do.

"I think they're doing it a lot quicker than some countries have tried to do it and that maybe worries or scares people. People don't like change do they, they like continuity and things to stay the same."

Adri Arnaus got the better of Oliver Bekker to seal his first DP World Tour title on home soil at the Catalunya Championship via a gripping six-hole play-off.

Arnaus barely looked in contention at the start of the day when he began seven shots off the lead, but his excellent round of 65 coincided with Bekker and Laurie Canter carding their worst scores of the tournament.

The eventual winner reached the turn in 34, a decent score but one that did not necessarily suggest he was going to surge up the leaderboard.

Then, he recorded an eagle at the 12th en route to reaching 11 under for the tournament, putting him out in front as Bekker finished his round.

Bekker needed three putts at the 16th as he fell level with Arnaus, with his 72 ultimately ushering in the latter's third play-off on the DP World Tour in just the past seven months.

Both racked up five successive pars as they showed nerves of steel on the 18th hole, but Bekker then failed to hit the green as the play-off made its way to the 17th, and Arnaus punished him.

The Spaniard's approach landed within six feet of the pin, and he made no fuss of sealing the title from there, later reflecting on previous play-off disappointment in Madrid last October.

"I just tried to be so much in the present today and in the play-off, and it's been a long play-off," he said.

"Congratulations of course to Oliver, it's been an amazing week for him as well, but to come through this week is so special.

"I love the fans so much, they came to support and from Monday to Sunday it's been an amazing week.

"In the Open de Espana we were close, in a play-off as well, and this time again in a play-off and we made it, so I'm super happy."

The victory could be enough to take Arnaus into the top 50 of the world rankings for the first time.

Canter ultimately finished in a tie for third with Richard McEvoy and Adrian Meronk on nine under for the championship.

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