Peter Hedblom fired a closing 67 to win the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles by a single shot from fellow Swede Martin Erlandsson. It was a fourth European Tour victory for the 39-year-old.
Hedblom took a one shot lead over home favourite Paul Lawrie into the final round over the Gleneagles’ Centenary Course, but it was Erlandsson who emerged as the 39-year-old’s main competitor. Erlandsson played a scintillating final round of 62 that included a run of seven birdies in a row between the sixth and 12th holes. Had he not missed chances over the closing stretch, Erlandsson could have posted the first 59 in the history of the European Tour.
“I got off to a good start and that helped my confidence and I really enjoyed it and played free and that was the key.” Said Erlandsson.
Erlandsson finished almost two hours before the leaders and could only wait to see if those following could match his total. Hedblom also made his move around the turn and four consecutive birdies between the seventh and 10th holes saw him reach 13-under-par, one ahead of Erlandsson. But a bogey at the difficult 15th meant the Swede, who lost out in a playoff for last week’s KLM Open, needed to play the closing three holes in no worse than one-under-par to secure victory. Hedblom made a gutsy birdie at the par-5 16th then ground out two pars to take the title by a single shot.
“I had to dig down deep, but I am so happy. What a round Martin played – I couldn’t believe it and he should have won.” Said Hedblom. “I just had to plug on. I hit a great shot into 16, but making two pars was even harder.”
Hedblom has now climbed to 22nd in the inaugural “Race to Dubai.”
Paul Lawrie, the leader through 36-holes, threatened to play his way back into contention when he made an eagle three at the ninth hole. But he couldn’t quite push on from there and had to be content with a closing 69 and a tie for third with the defending champion Gregory Havret.
“I had four good ball striking days last week, so we are now two events in a row where I’ve hit it like I want to hit it, and I think it was extremely close this week.” Lawrie said.
The Scots in the field obviously took heed of Colin Montgomerie’s rallying calls to the home players prior to the start of the tournament as three managed to finish in the top-10. Gary Orr fired an excellent closing 64 to finish alone in fifth and Steven O’Hara ended the week in a tie for sixth with Gregory Bourdy, Shiv Kapur and Jamie Donaldson of Wales.
Johnnie Walker Championships
The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
Aug 27-30, purse €1,605,000, par 72
1 Peter Hedblom (Swe) 72 68 68 67 275 €269,895
2 Martin Erlandsson (Swe) 74 70 70 62 276 €179,926
T3 Gregory Havret (Fra) 68 76 67 67 278 €91,171
T3 Paul Lawrie (Sco) 67 69 73 69 278 €91,171
5 Gary Orr (Sco) 73 71 71 64 279 €68,662
T6 Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 70 69 71 70 280 €45,505
T6 Jamie Donaldson (Wal) 69 71 70 70 280 €45,505
T6 Shiv Kapur (Ind) 69 70 72 69 280 €45,505
T6 Steven O’Hara (Sco) 68 76 66 70 280 €45,505
Player scores listed in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only