South Africa’s Brandon Stone produced one of the great rounds in European Tour history to win the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and secure a place in The Open Championship next week at Carnoustie.
Brandon Stone shoots superb 60 to win Scottish Open
Brandon Stone closed with a spectacular round of 60 at Gullane GC in East Lothian, narrowly missing out on a 59, to win the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open by four shots from England’s Eddie Pepperell.
Stone claimed his third European Tour title, his first Rolex Series Event, a cheque for $1,000,000 and a place in The Open Championship at Carnoustie. It was quite a week for the 25-year-old.
“It’s incredible. I had no idea what my score was until I walked onto the 18th green,” he said. “Disappointed to miss out on the 59 but, hey, we’ll take it. I’m extremely excited to get to Carnoustie but I know how hard it will be. I need to get there and do my preparation. I need to find some accommodation!”
England’s Eddie Pepperell looked to have a great chance of taking the win when he reached 17-under with a birdie on the 14th but Stone put his foot to the floor on the run for home.
Stone began the day on 10-under-par, three behind the lead. But the South African turned in 31 and made further gains on the 10th, 12th, 14th and 15th holes. At that stage he was 18-under-par and leading by one. Pepperell three-putted the 17th to drop a shot before Stone holed and incredible putt on the par-5 16th to reach 20-under for the tournament and 10-under on the day.
At that stage the tournament was effectively won but two questions remained. Could Stone fire the first 59 ever on the European Tour? And, who would claim the remaining Open places on offer?
Stone had a chance on the 17th but left his birdie try just short. He played two great shots on the 18th and was left with a makeable eight-foot putt for the magical 59 and a back nine of 28. He studied the line but just missed on the left side.
Pepperell finished on 16-under, closing with a 64. Although he was disappointed not to get the win he could console himself with the fact he will be playing at Carnoustie next week.
“I played well and the consolation is that even 18-under wouldn’t have got it done,” he said. “It’s disappointing but, yes, it will be nice to be playing at Carnoustie. I won’t be able to do 5 Live!”
The final Open place went to Jens Dantorp. The Swede had led through 54 holes and he closed with a 68 to finish tied third and earn his spot in his first Major championship.
Luke List of the USA finished tied for third with Trevor Immelman. The American came home in 31 for a closing 64. Former Masters champion Immelman missed out on a place at Carnoustie to Dantorp owing to his lower World Ranking.
Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open
Gullane GC, East Lothian, Scotland
Purse: $7,000,000 Par: 70
1 Brandon Stone (RSA) 70 64 66 60 260
2 Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 67 63 70 64 264
T3 Luke List (USA) 63 69 69 64 265
T3 Trevor Immelman (RSA) 68 64 68 65 265
T3 Jens Dantorp (Swe) 64 65 68 68 265
T6 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 68 68 64 66 266
T6 Rickie Fowler (USA) 64 66 68 68 266
T6 Ryan Fox (NZL) 67 68 63 68 266
T9 Stephen Gallacher (Sco) 70 66 65 66 267
T9 Justin Rose (Eng) 67 66 67 67 267
T9 Dean Burmester (RSA) 68 67 65 67 267
T9 Aaron Rai (Eng) 69 63 67 68 267
T9 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 65 64 70 68 267
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage