Nicolai Højgaard wins Italian Open a week after twin wins the European Masters

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GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy — Identical twins, identical results.

Nicolai Højgaard sunk a birdie putt on the 18th to win the Italian Open on Sunday, a week after his identical twin brother, Rasmus, won the European Masters in Switzerland.

It marked the first time in European Tour history that brothers have won back-to-back tournaments.

The 20-year-olds from Denmark are considered two of the continent’s brightest prospects.

In a nod to the future, Nicolai’s success came on the redesigned Marco Simone course just outside Rome that will host the 2023 Ryder Cup.

For his first European Tour victory, Nicolai shot a final-round 71 to finish one stroke ahead of 2018 Ryder Cup standout Tommy Fleetwood and Adrian Meronk of Poland.


Full-field scores from the DS Automobiles Italian Open


Rasmus, who finished in a tie for 18th this week, walked the course again shortly after his final round to watch his brother complete the victory, then rushed out onto the 18th green for a celebratory hug with Nicolai.

And to think that Nicolai was the last man added to the field this week with a wild card from the Italian Golf Federation.

Nicolai held the lead going into the final round but risked ending up in a playoff when his tee shot on the 626-yard, par-5 No. 18 landed in the left rough. After laying up safely, though, Nicolai spun his third shot to within four feet of the hole and then made the ensuing putt to clinch the trophy.

Nicolai’s previous best result was a second-place finish behind Sergio Garcia at the 2019 Dutch Open, while Rasmus’ victory in Crans-Montana was his third on the European Tour.

Francesco Laporta of Italy finished fourth, two strokes back.