Open de France Alstom
Le Golf National, Paris, France
June 26-29, par 71, 7,225 yards
Pablo Larrazabal was the surprise winner of the Open de France at Le Golf National just outside Paris. Before the event the 25-year-old was ranked 481st in the Official World Golf Ranking and had to come through 36 holes of qualifying just to play in the tournament. At the beginning of the week the young Spaniard described himself as, The 150th best player here.
But, at the end of the week, it was the man from Barcelona who outlasted seasoned veterans like Colin Montgomerie, Soren Hansen and Lee Westwood to win the competition by four shots. Larrazabal began the final round with a three shot cushion over Hansen and Montgomerie and played a swashbuckling final round of 67 to extend his advantage over the chasing pack.
The Spaniard started fast with three birdies in the first five holes, but when he double bogeyed the par five ninth his lead was trimmed to just two. But Larrazabal struck back immediately with birdies at the next two holes. He then followed a bogey at the 14th with two further birdies at the 15th and 16th.
As a result of his victory, the European Tour rookie will play his first Major at next month’s Open Championship, has secured a place on The European Tour until the end of 2010 and is now 17th on The Ryder Cup European Points List.
I promise you I dont know what I did! said Larrazabal after being fished out of the lake beside Le Golf Nationals 18th green, where he was flung by European Tour colleagues Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, Igancio Garrido and José Manuel Lara. I played great golf, probably the best golf of my life.
Larrazabal was delighted to defeat a field containing great players like runner-up Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood. Montgomerie is probably one of the greatest players in the history of The European Tour. He won eight Order of Merits. Westwood finished third at the US Open. He said. Right now I know that I can play like those guys so this is amazing.
With a cheque for 440,000 Monty had given himself a glimmer of hope in his quest to earn a place in Nick Faldos Ryder Cup team bound for Valhalla in September. The big Scot holed a 40-foot putt on the final green to beat Soren Hansen by a single shot. That’s a big step in the right direction,” he said.
1 Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 65 70 67 67 269 666,660
2 Colin Montgomerie (Sco) 69 68 68 68 273 444,440
3 Soren Hansen (Den) 69 69 67 69 274 250,400
4 Richard Green (Aus) 73 71 65 67 276 200,000
T5 Markus Brier (Aut) 70 71 66 70 277 154,800
T5 Lee Westwood (Eng) 69 68 69 71 277 154,800
T7 John Bickerton (Eng) 72 69 68 70 279 88,660
T7 Oliver Fisher (Eng) 66 73 69 71 279 88,660
T7 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 72 71 66 70 279 88,660
T7 Paul McGinley (Ire) 71 73 70 65 279 88,660
T7 Hennie Otto (RSA) 70 69 75 65 279 88,660
T7 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 73 70 66 70 279 88,660
Key Moment: Larrazabal bounces back from double bogey on the ninth with birdies at 10 and 11.
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.
Warwick Hills G&CC, Michigan
June 26-29, purse $5,000,000, par 72
Kenny Perry has secured his spot on the US Ryder Cup team with victory in the Buick Open. It was the second time the 48-year-old has won the tournament, the 11th win of his career and his second this season.
When Perry putted out on the final green to record a 19-under-par total he was far from assured of victory. In fact, a playoff looked the likely outcome. But, when Woody Austin three putted the final green for bogey and Bubba Watson couldnt make the birdie he required to tie, the title was Perrys.
“I still can’t believe it,” he said. “I feel like I need to go make a birdie out there to win this tournament.”
Although the win means a great deal to Perry, its earning a place in the team for Valhalla that was top of his agenda. The Kentucky native was desperate to play for the USA in his home state and particularly around a course where he has a score to settle. Perry lost the 1996 PGA Championship in a playoff to Mark Brooks at Valhalla.
“I just feel like I needed to go back there,” Perry said. “I want to go back. Im coming to the end of my career; it’s the icing on the cake for me to be able to play at my age. I’ll be 48 when it comes, and just in front of my home folks, its just something I wanted to do.”
Its been an amazing couple of months for Perry. He had a chance to win The Players Championship before falling away in the final round, he then lost in a playoff at the AT&T Classic, won the Memorial, skipped the US Open to concentrate on earning a Ryder Cup spot and has now won again at the Buick: Quite a run.
1 Kenny Perry (USA) 69 67 67 66 269 $900,000
T2 Woody Austin (USA) 66 67 69 68 270 $440,000
T2 Bubba Watson (USA) 67 67 68 68 270 $440,000
T4 Ken Duke (USA) 69 66 69 67 271 $206,667
T4 Bob Tway (USA) 68 71 67 65 271 $206,667
T4 Matt Jones (Aus) 70 63 71 67 271 $206,667
T7 Brian Gay (USA) 69 68 70 65 272 $161,250
T7 Lucas Glover (USA) 70 66 69 67 272 $161,250
T9 Dudley Hart (USA) 64 68 70 71 273 $135,000
T9 Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 68 66 72 67 273 $135,000
T9 John Rollins (USA) 72 64 72 65 273 $135,000
Key Moment: Perry slam-dunks a bunker shot at the 14th to make an eagle two.
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.