The European Open
The London Golf Club, Kent
Jul 3-6, par 72, 7,257 yards
It’s been a great week for Ross Fisher. He started it by qualifying for the Open Championship over 36 holes at Sunningdale. He ended it as European Open champion.
The 27-year-old battled through adverse weather and outlasted a top quality field to win the European Open by seven shots from Sergio Garcia. It was the second European Tour win of the Englishman’s career and one that lifted him from 21st to 11th in the Ryder Cup standings.
Fisher, who started the event with a course record 63, began the final day three clear of Graeme McDowell and nine ahead of Sergio Garcia. In difficult conditions, McDowell dropped four shots in his first four holes and it became Fisher’s tournament to lose. When the Wentworth based pro eagled the par 5 fifth he gave himself an unassailable lead. He made three further birdies on the run for home including a holed bunker shot at the final hole to put the icing on the cake.
“I felt really calm all day, very composed, comfy with my game.” He said. “I got my fair share of luck as well – at the last I was just thinking, ‘Try and put it on the green’. I’m delighted.”
With McDowell struggling, it was world number seven Sergio Garcia who proved to be Fisher’s closest challenger. The Spaniard fired a fantastic final round of six under 66 but it was too little too late. A 74 in the third round had taken the Ryder Cup star out of the running.
“I was trying to put some pressure on him, making a lot of birdies out there today, which wasn’t easy, it was definitely the best putting round I’ve ever had.” He said. “I couldn’t do anything more.”
McDowell managed to steady the ship in the middle of his round and a back nine of 34 was good enough to secure third place for the man from Northern Ireland. His cheque for €190,000 sees him climb back into 10th place in the Ryder Cup rankings.
“I had to reassess at the turn as suddenly I realised Garcia was having a great day and guys were going past me.” He said. “Not only was Ross out of reach but second and third were becoming a battle for me. But I was pleased how I turned it around and dug deep and pleased with how I played those last 13, 14 holes.”
48-year-old David Frost finished alone in fourth place and Denmark’s Soren Hansen made up the top 5.
1 Ross Fisher (Eng) 63 68 69 68 268 €506,392
2 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 71 64 74 66 275 €337,586
3 Graeme McDowell (NIR) 65 67 71 73 276 €190,201
4 David Frost (RSA) 65 72 69 71 277 €151,918
5 Soren Hansen (Den) 69 67 72 73 281 €128,826
T6 Peter Hanson (Swe) 68 71 71 72 282 €98,746
T6 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 74 66 73 69 282 €98,746
T8 Markus Brier (Aut) 71 71 71 70 283 €72,009
T8 Stephen Gallacher (Sco) 70 68 71 74 283 €72,009
Key Moment: Fisher holes a 50-foot eagle putt on the fifth. It leaves the rest of the field with too much to do to catch him.
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.
Congressional Country Club, Maryland
Jul 3-6, purse $6,000,000, par 70
With victory in the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, Anthony Kim has become the first player under the age of 25 to win twice in one year on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods.
The 23-year-old fired a fantastic final round of 65 to take the tournament by two shots over Sweden’s Freddy Jacobson. Picking up a cheque for $1,080,000, Kim moves to sixth in the US Ryder Cup standings and has greatly boosted his chances of securing a place in Paul Azinger’s side for Valhalla. Following his win at the Wachovia Championship in April, he’s also getting ever-closer to breaking into the World Top Ten.
After his victory, Kim received a phone call from tournament host Tiger Woods. “He told me to just keep working hard and keep it up, and the sky’s the limit, and there’s no reason to stop now,” Kim said of the call.
Jacobson suffered a double bogey at the third and, despite four straight birdies from the 14th to the 17th, he was unable to close the gap. There was consolation for the Swede, however, as he earned a start at the Open Championshipn in two weeks time. There was a place available for the highest finisher at the AT&T not already qualified.
U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate also qualified for Royal Birkdale from a special money list. Tommy Armour III closed with a 69 and was among six players who tied for third at 271. Armour finished with six straight pars, when one birdie would have earned him a spot in the Open over Mediate.
Next stop for Kim is Royal Birkdale and it will be interested to see how the youngster copes on his first outing around a links course.
1 Anthony Kim (USA) 67 67 69 65 268 $1,080,000
2 Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 67 72 66 65 270 $648,000
T3 Robert Allenby (Aus) 68 69 67 67 271 $256,500
T3 Tommy Armour III (USA) 67 69 66 69 271 $256,500
T3 Jim Furyk (USA) 70 68 67 66 271 $256,500
T3 Nick O’Hern (Aus) 70 65 67 69 271 $256,500
T3 Rod Pampling (Aus) 66 69 71 65 271 $256,500
T3 Dean Wilson (USA) 69 70 65 67 271 $256,500
T9 Alex Cejka (Ger) 67 71 68 66 272 $162,000
T9 Jeff Overton (USA) 66 65 71 70 272 $162,000
T9 Tom Pernice Jr (USA) 68 63 69 72 272 $162,000
Key Moment: Kim makes a birdie at the 16th hole to give himself a cushion over the charging Jacobson.
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.