Despite finishing with a double bogey, England’s Lee Slattery hung on to win the Bankia Madrid Masters at El Encin Golf Hotel by a single shot from Lorenzo Gagli of Italy.
The 33-year-old looked to be cruising to victory. After four birdies in five holes from the 11th, he was holding a three shot lead with just the par-5 last to play. He hit a sensible tee shot to the middle of the fairway then went to lay-up with his second shot. But that stroke travelled too far and ran through the fairway into a tricky bunker some 100 yards short of the green.
From there he went for the putting surface but caught the shot slightly heavy and found the water. At that stage, Lorenzo Gagli who’d looked to be out of the running, was handed a lifeline. He too had found a fairway bunker in two shots, but his third landed on the green leaving him a 25 foot birdie effort.
Slattery dropped from the water then played his fifth shot, a chip-and-run across the green, up to about 10 feet from the hole.
Slattery looked on nervously as Gagli took his birdie putt, but he was able to breathe more easily as it came up just short and right. That left the Englishman with two putts to secure his maiden European Tour title. He duly took them and lofted his arms in relieved celebration.
“I’ve never shaken so much in my life,” said Slattery. “I’ve been out here for seven years and now I believe I can win. That’s been the biggest problem over the last few years.”
With the victory Slattery has secured his playing privileges on the European Tour for 2012, he is the eighth first-time winner on the 2011 European Tour.
Lorenzo Gagli finished alone in second with Eduardo De La Riva of Spain and Cesar Monasterio of Argentina tied third.
World Number 1 Luke Donald couldn’t get it going on the final day and he closed with a 72 to earn a share of 11th place.
Bankia Madrid Masters
El Encin Golf Hotel, Spain
Oct 6-9, purse €1,000,000, par 72
1 Lee Slattery (Eng) 67 66 69 71 273 €166,660
2 Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 65 70 69 70 274 €111,110
T3 Eduardo De la Riva (Esp) 67 67 72 70 276 €56,300
T3 Cesar Monasterio (Arg) 68 70 67 71 276 €56,300
5 Thomas Aiken (RSA) 71 69 67 71 278 €42,400
T6 Peter Hanson (Swe) 67 72 72 68 279 €26,480
T6 Gonzalo Fdz-Castano (Esp) 65 75 68 71 279 €26,480
T6 Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 69 72 67 71 279 €26,480
T6 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 67 67 71 74 279 €26,480
T6 Oscar Floren (Swe) 69 69 67 74 279 €26,480
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only
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