ANDREW Johnston has won his first European Tour title with a battling Open de Espana victory at a drizzly Real Club Valderamma.
The Englishman’s one over par finish was enough to clinch victory at the testing former Ryder Cup venue.
Joost Luiten ended the day on two over with local hero Sergio Garcia’s sensational four-under card pushing him up to third overall.
Mike Lorenzo-Vera fell away badly after his barnstorming round yesterday, with seven bogeys sinking the Frenchman’s hopes of a first European Tour.
Garcia hit the ground running with two pars and two birdies, and the crowd favourite had battled his way to within two of the leaders by the 11th hole.
Johnston and Luiten duked it out at the top, with the Dutchman hitting back-to-back birdies on the fifth and the Englishman doing the same on the eighth.
Meanwhile, Larrazabal had recovered some of the form that deserted him yesterday with three birdies catapulting him to one off the lead by the 11th.
Garcia, the last man to win at Valderrama, surged on with two more birdies on the 16th and 17th, but a bogey on the 18th after a tremendous round saw him end on three over.
The Spaniard’s clubhouse target was being chased down by Johnston, Morrison, Luiten, Larrazabal and Kaymer.
Kaymer’s hopes appeared to be sunk when the 2014 US Open champion planted one in the water.
But it was Johnston in pole position going onto the 16th, with the Englishman – affectionately known as ‘Beef’ – cooking up a storm.
After holing a four-foot putt on the final hole for a round of one under par, Johnston was left waiting for Luiten.
And when the Dutchman was unable to hole from the bunker on the 18th it sparked wild celebrations from Johnston and his team.
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