Rickie Fowler won at Gullane and Raphael Jacquelin, Daniel Brooks and Rikard Karlberg earned places in The Open Championshp at St Andrews.
Rickie Fowler of the USA produced a superb finish to win the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open by a single shot from countryman Matt Kuchar and Raphael Jacquelin of France.
Fowler birdied three of his last four holes to fire a closing 68 and finish the week on 12-under-par to sneak ahead of his Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Kuchar, who held the clubhouse lead at 11-under-par.
Marc Warren of Scotland set the early pace on Sunday at Gullane, posting a fabulous final round score of 64. The Scot finished at 10-under-par and, with strong winds buffeting the Lothian links, that number looked to have a chance of securing a home win for Warren.
But, as the wind died, the leaders began to take advantage and a number of players stepped up to the plate on the run for home.
Matt Kuchar birdied the 16th to reach 11-under-par and two closing pars saw him into the clubhouse one ahead of Warren. Fowler had dropped a shot at the 14th, but he bounced back with a great shot into the 15th that resulted in a birdie three. Another birdie at the 16th pushed him into a tie at the top of the board and, at that stage a playoff looked a distinct possibility.
But, after a good par on the short 17th, Fowler hit a perfect drive down the last and left himself just a wedge to the green. Showing the sort of focus that won him The Players Championship earlier this year, the 26-year-old took dead aim and stopped his approach just two feet from the cup. The closing birdie was enough to secure his maiden European Tour title and give him great confidence going into next week’s Open Championship at St Andrews.
“This is a big win. I had a couple of missed cuts after winning The Players, which was disappointing, so it feels good to get back on form, he said. “Phil Mickelson mentioned to me, ‘win this and there’s a good chance you win next week,’ so I had to take care of business… I don’t know what’s so special about links golf but it’s my favourite. The golf course can play so different day after day and it presents a new challenge. It was a good test this week at Gullane.”
Daniel Brooks of England led coming into the final round at Gullane but he struggled on the final day, particularly from the tee. In the end he did well to battle to a closing 73 and a tie for seventh place. Although he will be disappointed to not get the victory, he could console himself with the fact that his finish was good enough to secure his place in The Open next week.
Also earning starts at St Andrews were Raphael Jacquelin of France and Rikard Karlberg from Sweden.
Jacquelin held the lead during the back nine at 11-under-par, but he stumbled with a bogey at the 14th. The Frenchman was unable to recover that stroke over the next three and needed to hole his second shot to the last to force a playoff. He very nearly did it. His ball landed by the cup then spun back to within inches of the hole. He ended the week tied second with Kuchar.
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open
Gullane GC, East Lothian, Scotland
Purse: €4,500,000, par 70
1 Rickie Fowler (USA) 66 68 66 68 268
T2 Matt Kuchar (USA) 66 68 67 68 269
T2 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 68 67 64 70 269
T4 Marc Warren (Sco) 70 67 69 64 270
T4 Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 70 66 65 69 270
T4 Joost Luiten (Ned) 71 63 66 70 270
T7 Luke Donald (Eng) 69 67 69 66 271
T7 Ross Fisher (Eng) 70 65 68 68 271
T7 Daniel Brooks (Eng) 64 65 69 73 271
T10 Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 67 71 70 64 272
T10 Y.E. Yang (Kor) 68 67 70 67 272
T10 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 70 66 68 68 272
T10 David Howell (Eng) 68 70 66 68 272
T10 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 69 65 68 70 272
T10 Russell Knox (Sco) 67 68 66 71 272
T10 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 67 66 67 72 272
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage