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Johnnie Walker Championship. English Tommy Wins Play-Off

English Tommy Fleetwood won the Johnnie Walker Championship in a play-off at Gleneagles, for his first European Tour title win.

Tommy Fleetwood   (Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood / Getty Images

Tommy, Ricardo Gonzalez and Stephan Gallagher all finished the Johnnie Walker Championship at -18 under par, which sent them into a sudden-death play-off.

The players returned to the par five 18th on the Centenary Course for the play-off. and Stephen was eliminated when failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker,  missing his birdie putt from about seven feet. Ricardo had putted down to five feet, that was from just off the back of the green, then he also missed his putt, That miss left Tommy an opportunity to hole out from four feet for a winning birdie and the Title.

Tommy holed the putt and said the other two were unlucky;

“The other two guys were a little unlucky with their putts and before you know it you have a four footer for the win. God knows how I made contact. It all seemed to unravel really quickly. It just seemed to come a bit easier this week. I was nervous as hell on the first green but after that I was pretty calm. It was so tight, almost claustrophobic on the leaderboard; if you dropped a shot you went down ten places. My bogey on 15 dropped me out of the lead but it was a good one because I had duffed my way down the hole. On the 16th tee I said let’s finish like I did on Friday with three birdies and knowing what I had to do on the 18th really helped. I’d carved two drives into the trees earlier in the week and had it in my mind that I might want to hit an iron, but I knew I needed birdie and hit two great shots, driver and five iron, onto the green.  I wish it started a week earlier but The Ryder Cup is a long way off. It’s a lifetime goal but whether that’s next year or down the line doesn’t matter as long as I can achieve it. It was a nice play-off to be part of. They are two really nice guys, Ricardo and Stevie. I hit two great golf shots and two good putts and that’s all you can do. To win my first Tour event feels absolutely amazing. It’s a lifetime goal that’s been taken care of and hopefully I can move on and win some more. To call yourself a European Tour winner is just awesome.  I loved it, it was fantastic,”

Stephen was happy to get into the play-off;

” I would have taken a play-off on Monday, I was just happy to be playing to be honest. I actually hit the ball really well. It was only the short irons I was struggling with, I could not really get into my posture. On the 18th I knew I needed to hole it to have a chance. It was a great putt, just a shame I could not do it again.”

 

Tommy Fleetwood wins Johnnie Walker Championship after sudden-death play-off

Tommy and his dog Maisy / PA

 

 

Johnnie Walker Championship. Tommy Catches Ricardo to Share Lead.

Tommy Fleetwood catches up to Ricardo Gonzalez at the top of the leaderboard at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Tommy Fleetwood  (Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood / Getty Images

Tommy looked set to lead on his own but suffered a disappointing double bogey six on the last hole on the Gleneagles Hotel course. His third round of -5 under par , 67 enabled him to catch up to Ricardo who could only post a third round of -2 under par, 70. Both players are at -16 under par for the tournament.

Tommy shrugged his shoulders about the double bogey 6 on the par 4 eighteenth, saying it was a difficult hole;

” The last hole does not really mean anything, it’s a tough hole and the way I hit my tee shot I did well to make six. I carved it into the trees and was lucky to have a chip out. If I hadn’t I would have had to go back 100 yards and could have taken anything up to a ten. The way I played the first 17 holes was fantastic. I have been up there a bit this year and faltered a bit, so it’s nice that I have kept my good golf going for three rounds. I came off the Challenge Tour feeling I was the best golfer in the world, it felt very easy and I could not do much wrong. Last year I was still working hard but maybe not working on the right things.The more you play poorly out here, the easier it is to get into a downward spiral. It was horrible, I didn’t know that many people, and it was very hard.At this tournament last year I’m not sure that I expected to be back on this Tour this season, but I played great the second half of the season and have carried it on.This is what you spend hours and hours practicing for, to be up there in golf tournaments. I always used to watch this tournament as a kid and I love Scotland. My parents, Sue and Pete, would move here in a heartbeat, and we’ve got a house behind the 12th hole this week so I’ll do some practice and walk home.”

Ricardo is still recovering from personal distress, but said he was happy with his third round;

“The last two years have been very difficult personally, if I win I would like to dedicate it to my mother and father, that’s my target this week. I think the first two days, I hit it very well from the fairway to the flag. I’m happy to make two under par on that course.”

Fredrik Andersson-Head is alone in third place after his third round of -6 under par 66 and a -15 under par total.

Stephen Gallacher is just three shots off the lead after charging through the field with a superb -8 under par, 64, for his -13 under par total. He and  Bernd Wiesberger share fourth place at that score.

Stephen has been suffering from a freak injury, washing his car, and said only the guys in the physio truck kept him in the competition;

“A 64 is very good considering I didn’t have a warm-up.I hit two shots and had to go back in for more physio. The boys in the physio truck have been brilliant all week. They put a heat pack on it and gave me some tablets and said as long as I wasn’t having pins and needles it was just a strain and I couldn’t do any more damage. If it had been any other place I would probably not have played but I love this place and the course is set up perfect. The greens are fantastic and it’s a course where I have had a few low scores.”

If Stephen’s back injury does not trouble him tomorrow, he could easily figure coming down the stretch in this competition.

 

Johnnie Walker Championship. Relaxed Ricardo Leads At Half-Way.

Ricardo Gonzalez leads at the half-way stage of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Ricardo Gonzalez  (Getty Images)

Ricardo Gonzalez / Getty Images

Ricardo compiled a second consecutive round of -7 under par 65, to top the leaderboard on The Gleneagles Hotel course at -14 under par. This is the Centenary Course which will host next year’s Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel.

Ricardo managed to  birdie his last five holes to card his second consecutive 65 on the course, the 43 year-old currently lies 109th in The Race to Dubai, with only the top 110 at the end of the year retaining their playing privileges for 2014.

He reflected on a tough couple of years on Tour, and if he wins this week he dedicate the victory to Mum and Dad;

” The last two years have been very difficult personally, if I win I would like to dedicate it to my mother and father, that’s my target this week. It’s a very important week for me because I have not played well at the start of the season. To shoot two rounds of 65 is amazing. I had five weeks’ rest to recharge my batteries. It’s strange because I’m a professional golfer and I need competition, but I’m feeling great after five weeks off. It has made me more relaxed and I think that’s the key to making a good score.”

 Bernd Wiesberger could not quite match the brilliant finish of Ricardo, but he still covered the back nine in 31 strokes to add a -6 under par 66,  to his opening 65 and finish the 54 holes at -13 under par, just one shot back and firmly in second place alone.

Bernd is hoping to play in the Ryder Cup, and said that Captain Paul McGinley thinks he could represent Europe;

” I played with Mr McGinley in the final round of the Scottish Open and afterwards he said he was very happy with my game and thinks I can play myself into the team, that’s something I really enjoyed hearing. It’s good that I have my name up there and even though qualifying has not started yet it’s important to play well at The Ryder Cup venue and make a statement that way.”

 Mark Foster and Tommy Fleetwood are at -11 under [ar after rounds of 67 and 65 respectively, to occupy third place. Mark admitting his search for a second European Tour victory ten years after his first is always on his mind.

“At the time it was not too bad,, but as it went on I thought about it more, especially every time I step onto the 18th tee here now, I’m not one for regrets. I stayed positive and hit drives and just made a bad swing rather than choosing a bad club.”

Defending Championship Paul Lawrie is at -7 under par after two rounds,

“I hit it lovely today and I am in there again, I think I will probably need a low weekend with the way the scoring is going but as long as you are in there you have a chance.”

Johnnie Walker Championship, A Double At Gleneagles

There is a double at the top of the Johnnie Walker Championship after the first round at Gleneagles. Bernd Wiesberger and Ricardo Gonzalez are the leaders.

Ricardo Gonzalez  (Getty Images)

Bernd Wiesberger / Getty Images

Both of the leaders at the Johnnie Walker Championship had opening rounds of -7 under par, 65 on The Gleneagles Hotel course. Ricardo recorded two bogey’s in his round while Bernd shot a clear round;

 ” I didn’t make a lot of mistakes, I had troubles the last couple weeks driving the ball, and coming off Major Championships where you have to be very precise off the tee, I felt I had a bit more margin of error here. My driving is better the last couple of days, which helped a lot, and I’ve got shorter clubs into the greens, and I could take advantage of those. I came here with the feeling that I like the golf course, I like the weather, playing in these colder conditions, I think it suits me. I’m very relaxed, had last week off, so quite fresh into this tournament and that helped me.”

Ricardo, who has not had a top ten finish this season, but has four European titles to his name said he had played well;

“I played very good from the tee, made some good putts, and that’s why it’s a good score. I like the course, I think the weather opened my eyes and made me take more concentration on my putter and my driver.”

In a very tightly compacted leaderboard there are no less than six players tied in third place at -6 under par. One of them, Oliver Fisher could have joined the top two but unfortunately made bogey at his final hole. The others sharing with Oliver at -6 under par are; Mark Foster, Ross Fisher, Brett Rumford, Thongchai Jaidee and Ignacio Garrido.

Oliver explained how he had benefited from playing  with Jason Dufner, golf’s latest Major Champion, while at The Open Championship;

“I played with Jason the last round, I think he shoot four under and I shoot three, and there’s not a lot between. He’s just gone on to finish second at Bridgestone and won the PGA, and I sat at home watching it on telly. It doesn’t take a lot, the difference in the game to completely change your year or change your career, if you like. I’ll just keep believing and being patient. I know the golf I can play and it’s just a matter of getting out there and taking a bit of responsibility I guess.”

Defending champion Paul Lawrie birdied two of the last three holes for a -2 under par, 70, and is five shots off the lead.

No Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2014

   ryder_cup_logo

Gleneagles Golf Course

Created  by Jack Nicklaus, the PGA Centenary Course is the Host Venue for The 2014 Ryder Cup, and a decision by Ryder Cup director Richard Hills, has revealed the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will not feature on the European Tour in 2014. Richard announced;

 “We are very grateful to the management of both Diageo, the owners of Johnnie Walker, and The Gleneagles Hotel for agreeing to postpone the Johnnie Walker Championship so that preparations for the Ryder Cup can begin as planned in July 2014. The magnitude of the Ryder Cup is such that trying to host the Johnnie Walker Championship in the same season would have compromised both events.”

The  chief operating officer and director of international policy for the European Tour, Keith Walters revealed that a lot of thought had gone into making the decision;

” We looked at rescheduling the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles to an earlier week on the 2014 schedule but a suitable date could not be found. But we are delighted all parties have agreed to reschedule the Championship for 2015.”

This is a sad but unavoidable conclusion, we look forward to the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2015.

 

 

Miracle At Medinah Ensures a Healthy Future for the Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup

A Happy Justin Rose/Reuters

The Miracle at Medinah ensures a vibrant and healthy future for the Ryder Cup, some people are already committing to buying tickets for Ryder Cup 2014 in Scotland at Gleneagles.

The European Team have now won the Ryder Cup seven times in the last nine events, some people have suggested that the Trans-Atlantic showdown, while always hugely anticipated affair, has become a bit of a lop-sided affair. This not so true, the reality of the last three matches between the two teams has underlined how close the contests have become.

Back in 1999 in Kentucky  the then Captain Paul Azinger, inspired the Americans to deliver in some style as they beat Europe by 16-1/2 points to 11-1/2 points. The Americans  were beaten in Wales two years ago, the margin of that defeat was another wafer-thin victory, 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2 for the Europeans.  The U.S.  visiting team again showed passion and cohesion, especially through Ryder Cup rookies such as Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler.

At  Medinah the separation between the teams was widely perceived by many observers to be non-existent, with some critics predicting an eventual tie, which it could have been if  Tiger Woods had insisted Francesco Molinari make the remaining short putt, instead of conceding it.

Rory McIlroy summed up the passion for the Ryder Cup;

” This is the most special and unique golf tournament we have, period. To bring this group of guys together, to all play for the same cause. We win together, we lose together, and luckily the last two Ryder Cups, we have won together.”

American newcomer Keegan Bradley was also ecstatic about The Ryder Cup, the Team spirit and partnering  his mentor Phil Mickelson;

“I’ve never really felt more on a team in my life. We are all very close, and it was just such an unbelievable week to share with these guys and the captains. It’s a week that I’ll never forget, and I’m going to be disappointed that we are not going to get together tomorrow to all get ready to play.”

So now it is over to Scotland, Gleneagles for the 2014 Ryder Cup, I wonder where we will all be come game time ?

The European team posses with the Ryder Cup. Picture: AP

The Winning European Team, not sure about those jackets !!!/picture AP

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Winning Team/AP

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