Omega European Masters
Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Switzerland
Sep 4-7, purse 2,008,991, par 71
Jean-Francois Lucquin stole victory from Northern Irelands Rory McIlroy in a dramatic finish to the Omega European Masters at stunning Crans-sur-Sierre.
At just 19-years-old, McIlroy was bidding to become the third youngest European Tour winner in history and he looked to have the title sewn up as he stood in the middle of the 72nd fairway with a one shot lead. But, his sand wedge approach from 99 yards was played with too much aggression and it finished through the green. He chipped up to five feet but then missed the putt. A bogey five saw him fall back into a tie with Lucquin on 13 under par.
The pair returned to the 18th tee for a playoff. Both found the fairway then both hit the green. McIlroy narrowly missed his birdie effort and two pars meant they had to return to the 18th tee. This time McIlroy found heavy rough to the left of the fairway. After Lucquin had played an excellent approach just past the pin McIlroy blasted out of the thick grass and found the putting surface.
The Northern Irishmans putt just missed the hole once again and finished 18-inches past the cup. He went to tap in but, incredibly, he missed. Lucquin had the luxury of two putts for the title but he needed just one and a maiden European Tour victory was his.
After Gregory Havret won at Gleneagles last week its a second consecutive French winner on tour. It was Lucquins first victory in 175 attempts and it lifted him to 44th on the Order of Merit.
“I have no words to explain what I am feeling. Said Lucquin. “When I saw my wife and little boy it was a dream. At the beginning of the season I was not happy with my game and I didn’t make a good score until this week. I was 129th on the Order of Merit and I was scared and didn’t want to go back to the Qualifying School. I worked very hard with my coach Richard Gillot and he came here this week and my swing was very, very good. Now I have to be focused on the future, keep going.
McIlroy was understandably disappointed but the youngster tried to put a positive spin on the week.
“I got very unlucky on the 18th in regulation, where it got a pretty big bounce for a sand wedge. He said.
“I hit a good chip, but not a very good putt. Then second time around in the play-off it didn’t really matter as he holed his. That made me feel a bit better after missing that putt. I can take a lot from this week.
Ryder Cup team member Miguel Angel Jimenez finished in a tie for third with another Frenchman Christian Cevaer, Julien Clement of Switzerland and Scotlands Gary Orr.
1 Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra) 68 67 69 67 271 333,330-
2 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 63 71 66 71 271 222,220 –
T3 Christian Cevaer (Fra) 68 71 65 68 272 95,000
T3 Julien Clement (Sui) 69 68 67 68 272 95,000
T3 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 68 69 68 67 272 95,000
T3 Gary Orr (Sco) 67 71 67 67 272 95,000 –
T7 Juan Abbate (Arg) 68 67 69 69 273 48,700 –
T7 Robert Dinwiddie (Eng) 76 64 64 69 273 48,700 –
T7 Rafa Echenique (Arg) 69 70 66 68 273 48,700 –
T7 Ross McGowan (Eng) 67 73 66 67 273 48,700 –
Key Moment: McIlroy flies the green with a sand wedge on the final hole.
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
Bellerive CC, Missouri
Sep 4-7, purse $7,000,000, par 70
Colombian sensation Camilo Villegas claimed his first PGA Tour title at the BMW Championship and, in so doing, propelled himself to second in the FedEx Cup playoff standings.
The 26-year-old fired four rounds in the 60s at Bellerive Country Club to finish the week on 15 under par and see off Americas Dudley Hart by two shots.
Villegas had been knocking on the door for the last couple of months. He finished fourth in the USPGA Championship and was just one shot off the lead going into the final round last week before falling away.
He had to battle hard to win though. After making back to back bogeys on the front nine he lost the lead to Jim Furyk, but birdies at the 13th and 14th set the Colombian back on track and he ended up winning by two. Its awesome to be here. Villegas said. Hopefully this is the first of many.
By finishing 44th Vijay Singh has all but won the FedEx Cup. As long as he completes all four rounds at next weeks Tour Championship hell take the $10 million first prize. Even if he is forced to withdraw for some reason Villegas would need to win the tournament to pass him.
It was a good week for Paul Azingers Ryder Cup wildcard picks. Hunter Mahan finished in a tie for eighth, Steve Stricker was tied 10th and JB Holmes was back in tied 33rd. Chad Campbell was forced to withdraw but it was for a positive reason because his pregnant wife went into labour.
1 Camilo Villegas (Col) 65 66 66 68 265 $1,260,000 –
2 Dudley Hart (USA) 67 69 66 65 267 $756,000 –
T3 Jim Furyk (USA) 70 62 66 70 268 $406,000
T3 Anthony Kim (USA) 68 67 66 67 268 $406,000
T5 Stephen Ames (Can) 68 69 66 66 269 $255,500
T5 KJ Choi (Kor) 70 68 64 67 269 $255,500
T5 DJ Trahan (USA) 71 63 68 67 269 $255,500 –
T8 Tim Clark (RSA) 67 68 66 69 270 $210,000
T8 Hunter Mahan (USA) 69 67 68 66 270 $210,000 –
Key Moment: Villegas holes a 35-foot putt for birdie on the 14th hole.
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage