Mallorca Open champion Jeff Winther revealed he very nearly missed his tee time on Sunday, though he did not let a bathroom fiasco prevent him from claiming a maiden European Tour title.

Overnight leader Winther carded a closing 70 to remain on 15 under-par, keeping him one shot in front of Spanish duo Pep Angles and Jorge Campillo, and Swede Sebastian Soderberg.

The 30-year-old carded two 62s over the tournament, and just did enough on his final round.

However, he was almost caught out by a bathroom-related drama, and had to rely on his young daughter to get him out of a tricky situation.

"After breakfast I went to have a shower and my wife came in to use the bathroom as well," he said. "The door closed, and there's no lock, but we locked ourselves in. There's no lock on the door but the handle didn't work.

"Our little girl Nora, six years old, had to go and find guys at reception to break down the door. We were in there for 45 minutes, I think. I thought, 'jeez not today, not Sunday, you're leading the freaking event. Might not get there for your tee time'. What a morning!

"It's not sinking in. I couldn't have a better week. I said at the start of the week that this was going to be like a holiday and apparently holidays work out for me."

While Winther celebrated his first victory on the Tour, Soderberg finished in second place for the second week running. 

Soderberg's 68 wedged him between the scores of Angles (67) and Campillo (69), with the trio sharing second place on 14 under.

The lowest score of the day was achieved by Laurie Canter, who went round in 64 to finish at 12 under alongside Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez. The Englishman has finished in the top five in three of his last four events.

Matt Fitzpatrick bounced back from Ryder Cup woe by claiming his seventh European Tour win as the Englishman took full advantage of Sebastian Soderberg's late capitulation to clinch the Andalucia Masters title.

Overnight leader Laurie Canter rarely looked as though he would get the win to secure his first €1million season, his five over par seeing him finish tied for fourth.

Soderberg looked to be the one to capitalise on Canter's fall, with the Swede playing some fine golf at times – his exceptional par save at the ninth, consisting of a wonderful chip to within a few inches of the hole, seeing him reach the turn three under for the round.

Another excellent up-and-down at 11 earned him a birdie and the lead.

Although a bogey on the 13th pegged him back, Soderberg quickly got that shot back with another birdie on 15 as he looked well-placed to go on and take the trophy.

But the timing of his costly double bogey on the 17th could not have been worse as Fitzpatrick – a hole back – simultaneously ended a streak of 15 pars with his first birdie of the day. Over the course of a single hole, Soderberg went from a two-shot lead to trailing by one.

Fitzpatrick – playing in his first tournament since making it two Ryder Cup appearances without a point – quickly turned that into a two-shot lead of his own before closing out with a par that left him at six under for the tournament, three clear of the rest of the pack.

While Fitzpatrick is by no means a stranger to successes on the Tour, victory at Valderrama was particularly special.

Asked how he felt afterwards, Fitzpatrick said: "Amazing, particularly the way I did it, staying patient all day, didn't try to press anything. We stuck to our targets and I managed to hole the putts at the end.

"It's one for the bucket list to win around Valderrama with the history it has, and doing it with a bogey-free Sunday, it's extra special, so I'm delighted.

"You can hit half decent shots and then be behind a tree, you're chipping out or you've got to manoeuvre something. It's a true test to be patient for the whole 72 holes, I'm really pleased with my attitude all week."

Soderberg ultimately finished tied for second with Min Woo Lee, while seven players were an additional shot back.

Laurie Canter powered three shots clear at the Andalucia Masters to put himself within touching distance of completing a €1million season on the European Tour.

The 31-year-old Englishman finished tied for second at the BMW PGA Championship in September, and now a maiden victory on the tour is a realistic target.

A roller coaster four-under-par 67 in the third round allowed Canter to ease clear of the field and reach seven under through 54 holes, with Matt Fitzpatrick in second place after a one-under 70.

Canter had eight birdies and four dropped shots in his round, but the score of the day was achieved by American David Lipsky, who shrugged off a bogey at the first and went on to make eight birdies on the way to a 64, seven under par.

That put Lipsky on three under overall, in third place, with organisers stating his efforts matched the lowest round in the tournament's history, previously achieved in 2017 by Daniel Brooks and in 2018 by Sergio Garcia.

Canter, who hails from Bath, will be wary of players behind him shooting such a low score on Sunday, but he will have few better chances to win a tournament.

In 2019, Canter played just five events on the tour and won a mere €11,059, but two runner-up finishes last year put him in a far healthier position with €498,991 in earnings, and now Canter is close to breaking the seven-figure mark in a season for the first time.

The €485,000 on offer to the winner at Valderrama on Sunday would send Canter soaring through that mark, and he likes the look of his cushion.

"I think what it means is I can go out tomorrow and play how I have these last couple of days," Canter said, quoted on the European Tour website.

"The score I end up on will be competitive, I think. That gives me a lot of confidence going in. The course is asking a lot of different challenges and you can’t dwell when it goes against you. I’m trying to stay as level as I can and I’m doing a good job."

Those in the five-player group on two under will remain hopeful of a Sunday surge, and among them is the halfway leader Romain Langasque. The Frenchman went backwards on Saturday after a disappointing 73, but may not be out of contention.

Alongside Langasque in a share of fourth place is Austrian Ryder Cup player Bernd Wiesberger, plus Min Woo Lee of Australia, Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg and Italy's Renato Paratore.

Romain Langasque sits top of the Andalucia Masters leaderboard heading into the weekend after a solid opening two days, while world number one Jon Rahm missed the cut.

The Real Club Valderrama lived up to its infamous reputation as an often-gruelling course a day earlier, with numerous players highlighting the difficulty posed by the windy conditions.

Few struggled like Rahm on home soil as the Spaniard carded a seven-over 78 on what was the worst European Tour round of his career, leaving him 11 shots adrift of overnight leader Julien Guerrier, who was one clear of recent Open de Espana champion Rafa Cabrera Bello on three under.

It was all change for Guerrier and Cabrera Bello on Friday, though, as they went two and three over par respectively for the round.

Rahm dropped three more shots to leave him 10 over for the tournament and heading home early.

Matt Fitzpatrick looked to have stormed to the front of the pack and held the lead before the 18th, but like Guerrier before him, he closed with a double bogey that left him as one of four on three under for the week alongside Laurie Canter, Ryan Fox and Sebastian Soderberg.

Canter was the star of the show, however, enjoying the round of the tournament so far.

His six-under 65 on Friday, which was two shots better than anyone managed the previous day, might have been even better had he avoided a bogey on the 16th.

"The perfectionist in me would like to have played the final three holes better, it sort of took me out of the flow I was in to be honest," he told the European Tour after.

"But up until then it was probably the best 15 holes of golf I've played on tour. I've had lower scores, but in terms of control of the golf ball on a difficult course and quite challenging conditions, certainly on the front nine, it was really, really good.

"On the front nine, I really didn't miss a shot. A couple of holes we deliberately played away from, trying to hit it to 20-25 feet.

"I think the pins were more generous than yesterday, but even so I was obviously delighted to go out in five under, which is great around here."

But it is Langasque who takes a slender one-shot lead into Saturday, with his four-under score for the tournament coming from two rounds of 69, the latest of which including just one bogey and 15 pars as his consistency on the day paid dividends.

World number one Jon Rahm endured a dreadful opening day at the Andalucia Masters he carded a seven-over-par 78, but Rafa Cabrera Bello looked sharp again after winning the Open de Espana.

Rahm failed to get a single birdie during what was his worst ever round on the European Tour, and his worst in any competition since the 2018 Open Championship.

But the home crowd's mood was at least soothed by the form of Cabrera Bello, who was fresh from success in Madrid last weekend, coming through a play-off with Adri Arnaus to seal a first European Tour title since 2017.

While Arnaus had something of a nightmare on Thursday as he carded a six-over 77, Cabrera Bello more or less picked up where he left off as he went around in 68, leaving him one behind leader Julien Guerrier.

The Frenchman – who started on the 10th – will be frustrated not to have taken a healthier lead into Friday, however, with two bogeys on his front nine meaning he had to work doubly hard for his one-shot advantage.

Guerrier's countryman Romain Langasque was the only other individual to do better than one-under for the round, highlighting the brutality of the Real Club Valderrama when conditions are windy.

The 26-year-old was helped by an eagle on the par-five fourth hole, though he followed that with successive bogeys.

Six others find themselves tied for fourth on one under par, but much of the attention will be on Rahm's response.

After starting on the 10th, he reached the turn at six-over. While he only dropped one more shot on his back nine, the U.S. Open champion will need to produce something special if he is to avoid the cut.

Rafa Cabrera Bello saw off fellow Spaniard Adri Arnaus in a play-off to claim a dramatic victory at the Open de Espana in Madrid.

The world number 231 captured the fourth European Tour event of his career – and first since triumphing at the 2017 Scottish Open.

Cabrera Bello's victory saw him follow in the footsteps of Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez in winning his national open, with the Canarian now having won it as a professional and at each age level from seven through to 18.

The 37-year-old went into the final round in the Spanish capital with a two-shot lead, but surrendered his advantage following a tricky opening nine.

However, a run of three successive birdies from the 13th restored a share of the lead with Arnaus, before saving par on the 18th to finish on 19-under for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Arnaus carded 67 and forced the play-off as he looked to avoid a fourth runner-up finish on the European Tour.

After returning to the 18th, each of them hit tee shots left of the fairway, but a tremendous approach from Cabrera Bello set up an 11-foot birdie that ended his title drought.

"I'm very, very happy," he said. "I knew it was going to be a really hard battle today and I don't think I need to say that I didn't get off to the ideal start.

"I've been believing in myself; I've had amazing support all this week rooting for me ever since the first minute and I was just hanging in there. I knew I'd have an opportunity and I'm glad that luck swung my way.

"I came here in probably the worst shape I have been in over the last decade, and to walk out here with a win, it's very special."

Jon Rahm hopes to "transcend golf and become an idol", echoing the achievements of tennis star and compatriot Rafael Nadal.

Rahm, who lives in America, has been amazed by his level of fame back home in Spain, where he is preparing for the Iberian swing of the European Tour.

This week he will seek to claim a third consecutive Open de Espana title in Madrid, with the world number one having risen to a level where he is instantly recognisable on the streets of the capital.

"It is difficult to be an idol when I do not live here," said the U.S. Open champion. "I see it when I spend a certain amount of time here, when you reach a certain level and even more so today with social media, because you reach more people and you realise the impact that you have.

"It only took 30 seconds for someone to recognise me when I left the hotel. If you were to tell me that this will happen to me in Bilbao, my hometown, I could understand it.

"I imagine that Madrid is full of sportsmen, but to be recognised so quickly is something I was not aware of.

"My parents and my friends tell me, but until I see it for my myself I do not realise it too much. Hopefully, I will transcend golf and become an idol."

Asked about an esteemed selection of his fellow countrymen – namely Nadal, former NBA stalwart Pau Gasol, and two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso – and the level of fame they have achieved, Rahm chose the 20-time grand slam winner as the one he would most like to emulate.

"You have named three sportsmen that have been my idols, three that I have seen competing, especially Rafa, who I already said is an idol and a model for me to learn from," said Rahm.

"I don't know if I will reach the level in golf that he reached in tennis because nowadays it's very competitive, but if I can be an idol for any Spanish kid, that would be welcome."

The Race to Dubai will conclude with a double-header for the second year in a row.

After finalising changes to the end of its 2021 schedule, the European Tour has confirmed the Dubai Championship will return on November 11-14.

One week later, only the 50 leading players will be able to take part in the lucrative season-ending DP World Tour Championship which determines the Race to Dubai winner.

Both events will take place at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai – one on the Fire course and the other on the Earth course.

The schedule change comes after the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player in South Africa was cancelled for a second straight year, with its return expected in 2022.

Lee Westwood won the race to Dubai in 2020, though it was Matthew Fitzpatrick who won the final event of the year.

This year Collin Morikawa, winner of The Open Championship, leads the Race to Dubai standings with Billy Horschel, Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton in pursuit.

"Last year's tournament on the Fire course, created to complete our 2020 schedule, was a great success," said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.

"We are delighted to bring the AVIV Dubai Championship to our schedule as the final piece in our jigsaw this season.

"It means we will have two strong 'Swings' to end our 2021 campaign – the Iberian Swing in Spain and Portugal and now this Dubai double-header at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

"We look forward to a terrific fortnight as we conclude another Race to Dubai on the Fire and Earth courses."

Danny Willett revealed in a "magical" triumph after clinching the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on his 34th birthday.

Willett went into his final round at St Andrews with a three-shot lead and stayed ahead of the field to claim his eighth European Tour victory by two strokes with a closing four-under 68.

The Englishman made the turn on the Old Course three under and holed his fifth birdie at the 10th, going level par the rest of the way to finish 18 under par.

Willett was briefly caught by Richard Bland, who made five birdies on the front nine to hit the turn in 31, but a one-over back nine meant Bland finished three shots behind.

Joakim Lagergren and Tyrrell Hatton finished in a tie for second at 16 under, with Shane Lowry a shot further back alongside Bland.

However, the day belonged to Willett, who sealed his first win since the 2019 BMW PGA Championship, having endured a bout with COVID-19, suffered with appendicitis and had a hernia removed in an extremely challenging 2021.

"It's magical," said Willett, who will move back into the Official World Golf Ranking top 100 with this win. "On British soil with everyone here, it's been a great week.

"To win here, to be British and to be able to win on British soil, to win at the home of golf, this is a very special one. Especially after how the last kind of year and a half has been for everyone involved. Especially for us, we've struggled a little bit with things.

"This one, for everyone watching, this seems quite out of the blue but the practice I've been doing at home and the inner belief we have every time we get in and out of position to do something was proven again.

"Doesn't matter where it is, who it's against, it's just a question of if the game is in shape. When it is, we're all right."

Danny Willett gave himself a golden opportunity to celebrate his birthday by winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship after taking three-shot lead on Saturday.

The 2016 Masters champion could toast turning 34 on Sunday by claiming his first title since his BMW PGA Championship triumph in September 2019.

Willett's impressive six-under bogey-free third round of 66 on the Old Course at St. Andrew's moved him to 14 under, three shots clear of Tyrrell Hatton, Richard Bland, Shane Lowry and John Murphy.

Englishman Willett overcame difficult weather conditions to move into a strong position.

"Early on, with a decent bit of wind, downwind, you always feel like you should take so many chances," said Willett.

"You need to drive it close, and as soon as you get on the 12th tee, you know you've got pretty tough conditions coming straight into the wind on the last six holes. I really had a go on the last six and gained a lot of shots coming in doing that.

"It's nice that the fans are back this week, the format is back, we missed it last year. I think it's great to have everyone here. We're getting cheered on, so it's great to be back on British soil. Another 18 holes to go, and we'll see how we do."

Three bogeys in a row on the back nine for Hatton after a promising start of four birdies from his opening five holes saw the 29-year-old drop into joint-second at 11 under as he signed for a one-under 72.

"Got off to a very nice start, and then just hit a couple of loose shots, just lost all momentum, to be honest," Hatton said. "I think from the eighth hole, just never really got anything going our way.

"I think there were only a couple of times where I had a realistic birdie chance, and I hit a good putt, and it bobbled off line or whatever."

Bland carded a sublime eight-under 64, while Irish duo Lowry and Murphy are firmly in the mix after going round in 67.

Tyrrell Hatton emerged from day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as the outright leader, but there are still multiple contenders to claim glory this weekend.

Englishman Hatton ended day one in a four-way tie for the lead, but even though he could not repeat his stunning first-round score of 64, settling for a two-under round 70 on Friday was still enough to claim the advantage.

World number 19 Hatton is 10 under for the tournament, one shot clear of compatriot Daniel Gavins after playing the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Li Haotong, one of Hatton's co-leaders overnight, and Danny Willett are tied for third on eight under at the European Tour event, with Tommy Fleetwood and Denmark's Jeff Winther one shot further back at seven under.

Former Open champion Shane Lowry produced the best round of the day, with his eventful 67 featuring an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys. He is sitting at six under, four off the lead.

However, the two other overnight leaders, Nicolas Colsaerts and Adri Arnaus, struggled to remain in contention, in contrast to Hatton and Li.

Colsaerts is now five shots off the lead, while Arnaus trails by six after a miserable 76 which featured five bogeys and a double bogey.

Hatton, part of the European team that suffered a record-breaking 19-9 defeat by USA on American soil in the Ryder Cup last week, is looking to triumph in the tournament for a third time.

He previously lifted the title in 2016 and 2017.

Alejandro Del Rey made history as he carded a sensational record-breaking 14-under par round of 58 at the Swiss Challenge on Friday.

The Spaniard was in danger of missing the cut before signing for the lowest score to par on a major golf tour.

Del Rey made three eagles and eight birdies at Golf Saint Apollinaire, surging up the leaderboard to put himself in contention for the title a day after he went round in 74.

The 23-year-old joins Jim Furyk, Stephan Jager, Ryo Ishikawa and Kim Seong-hyeon as the only golfers to have carded a 58 on major tours, with that quartet having achieved the feat with 12-under rounds on par-70 courses.

Del Rey said: "I really enjoyed it, it (the course) suits my game pretty well. I think the key for me is trying to stay patient out there, I am going to have a lot of putts for birdie, I let myself go a little bit yesterday and missed a lot of them.

"I just did pretty well today when I dropped the first couple and I stayed pretty patient when I missed a couple again, then I just went back at it.

"It was just great golf all round and for a round like that you need a couple of good bounces, which I got today. I definitely managed to drop some putts out there, but I think the key was that my driving was just great today. I hit every fairway super deep and every hole I managed to hit wedges in and managed to hit some chips, it was just a great all-round golf performance."

After his stunning score, Del Rey accepts that he will have to start afresh in round three, albeit he has catapulted himself into contention.

"I should take a nap because I need it, but I don’t know if I am going to be able to take a nap right now because I'm pretty pumped," he added.

"Tomorrow is a whole new day, and that's golf, I shot a 74 yesterday which is kind of crazy, so it's just another round. I'm just going to go out there and shoot as low as possible."

Tyrrell Hatton produced a magnificent back nine to sit in a share of the lead following the opening day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Hatton is looking to triumph in the tournament for a third time, having lifted the title in 2016 and 2017.

The Englishman was part of the European team that suffered a record-breaking 19-9 defeat by USA on American soil in the Ryder Cup last weekend.

However, he quickly overcame that disappointment with a hugely impressive back nine score of 29 at Carnoustie – aided by five birdies and an eagle – to move joint-top of the leaderboard on eight under.

"Obviously, we needed a big back nine and very happy that the putter worked well and hopefully that continues," Hatton said after his score of 64.

"It's always nice to start pretty good around this golf course. You go to the other ones and feel like you've got slightly more of a chance than here, so we'll see what the week brings."

Three-time European Tour winner Nicolas Colsaerts has also started well in his quest for a first triumph in two years.

The Belgian recovered from bogeying the second hole on the Old Course at St Andrews with five birdies and two eagles, also carding 64.

"Once you start to play well at the home of golf, it's a pretty nice feeling when you hit the shots," he said.

"Making two eagles on the two par fives and a birdie on 18, you basically tick every box on the Old Course, which is nice."

Meanwhile, China's Li Haotong and Spaniard Adri Arnaus carded bogey-free opening rounds to join Hatton and Colsaerts on eight under par.

Local favourite Ewen Ferguson is one of three players who are a shot behind the early leaders, along with Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey and Frenchman Romain Langasque.

Defending champion Victor Perez, who triumphed in 2019 before last year's tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, had a steady start, carding an opening 71.

Shane Lowry has criticised the "drunken idiots" among the Whistling Straits crowd at the Ryder Cup and said his wife was abused.

Europe went down 19-9 to the United States on Sunday – a record margin in the Ryder Cup between the two teams – with Lowry collecting a point in a memorable four-ball win with Tyrrell Hatton on Saturday.

The Irishman explained that the majority of the Wisconsin crowd were welcoming and courteous as Steve Stricker's side marched towards regaining the trophy.

However, the 2019 Open champion was left unimpressed by a "small percentage" of fans across the first two days, especially in the afternoon sessions where he suggested alcohol had taken its toll.

"I didn't think it was that bad until I asked my wife what it was like for her, and they got abuse coming around as well," Lowry told reporters ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

"So it's not very nice is it? And it's not very nice for them to have to listen to this. But that was a small percentage of the crowd.

"I finished my match on 16 on Sunday and I was walking back down to follow the other groups and I got a huge ovation off the crowd and in the grandstand on 16, that was pretty cool. And I thought I got on well with the crowd last week as best I could.

"But they are obviously a home crowd and they are going to be a partisan crowd. Some of the stuff is not very nice, but that's just the way it is.

"Some people are idiots, especially when they drink. Nobody turns into a genius drinking, and that's what they were doing last week. Especially if you were out in the afternoon matches, it was loud."

Lowry was a captain's pick by Padraig Harrington, and his performance in the four-balls sparked faint hope of a 'Miracle at Medinah' inspired comeback.

However, Patrick Cantlay dispatched Lowry 4 and 2 in the singles matches to leave Harrington's men staring at a thrashing.

Despite the loss, Lowry hailed the memorable debut outing, while expressing his frustrations that he and his team-mates could not perform for captain Harrington.

"I thought about it quite a bit on the way home on Monday, and I'm just so disappointed for Paddy to be honest," he continued.

"But as regards the week itself, I couldn't have envisaged what it would be like for me. It was amazing. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and it's the only thing I want to do for the next two years.

"I don't care what I do for the next two years now as long as I'm back in Rome to try to take the trophy back off them."

Steve Stricker has ruled out captaining the United States for a second time after the record 19-9 Ryder Cup victory over Europe at Whistling Straits.

The USA dominated Europe, winning by the biggest margin in the competition's history to regain the trophy on Sunday.

It was a dream three days for Stricker in his home state of Wisconsin as his side showed why they were such strong favourites.

The USA will travel to the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome for the 2023 event, but Stricker says they will have a different captain.

Asked about retaining the role, he said: "I don't think it's going to happen. It's mapped out and there's guys in positions to be the next captains.

"It was an unbelievable experience, don't get me wrong; I'm glad it's over."

Stricker paid tribute to his "special" team after such a phenomenal performance.

He said: "It was a special week all the way around. I don't know what else to say, and I've said it a number of times all week long and how these guys came together, and how they started two weeks ago when they showed up for the practice round.

"I could see the camaraderie then. I could see the willingness to prepare and get ready for this event prior to us even arriving. So a lot of these guys have played a lot of golf with each other. They have up with each other. It's a special group of guys."

He added: "It was just putting them out there in a position. The assistant captains and I talked a bunch with Tiger [Woods] on there, as well. And they're just so talented. Their average world ranking is 8.9. That's unheard of. Out of 12 guys.

"So it was really just getting out of their way; what I feel like. Let them go. Provide an atmosphere and camaraderie that they enjoyed and wanted to be a part of. And they all want to win, and it showed and they prepared for it.

"It was a great bunch of guys, and I really had a great time and they deserve it."

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