Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina made five birdies in the last six holes to win the SAS Masters by two shots from Jamie Donaldson of Wales. It was a fourth career European Tour win for the 39-year-old from Buenos Aires.
Gonzalez led the tournament at Barsebäck G & CC near Malmö at the halfway point but a third round of 77 left him two shots behind Marcus Fraser of Australia.
After two bogeys on the front nine of his final round, Gonzalez was struggling and appeared to have played himself out of the tournament. But, a birdie at the par-5 ninth was the trigger for an incredible back nine charge.
Birdies at the 13th and 14th were followed by another at the par-5 16th. At that point Gonzalez moved back into a tie for the lead with Donaldson and Jeppe Huldahl of Denmark.
When the Argentinian’s drive at the tough penultimate hole veered to the right it looked like he might find trouble. But the ball rebounded into a position where the 39-year-old had a chance to reach the green. His approach was well-struck and on line, but it came up short and plugged in the greenside bunker.
It was a nasty spot and it seemed he would do well just to get his third shot somewhere close to the flag. But, incredibly, Gonzalez blasted out and the ball rolled into the cup. He took a one-shot lead to the final tee, sitting at -9.
Gonzalez found trouble from the tee again on the 18th and Jamie Donaldson, who’d finished on -8, was given hope he may still make a playoff. But, Gonzalez played an incredible recovery shot from the left hand trees. He blasted out of the rough and over the birches in front of him to land his second shot just five feet from the pin. He rolled in the birdie effort and the SAS Masters title was his.
“It’s been a hard year, but I was fighting, fighting, fighting. I had the feeling that you can always make it if you work hard and never lose faith.” Said Gonazlez. “I don’t know whether the shot on the last was luck or just brilliant!”
Barsebäck G & CC, Malmö, Sweden
July 23-26, purse €1,600,000, par 73
1 Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 68 68 77 69 282 Titleist
2 Jamie Donaldson (Wal) 71 72 73 68 284 Titleist
3 Jeppe Huldahl (Den) 72 70 70 74 286 Titleist
T4 Martin Erlandsson (Swe) 70 70 72 76 288 Titleist
T4 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 72 69 70 77 288
T4 Oskar Henningson (Swe) 70 72 73 73 288 Titleist
T4 Marcus Higley (Eng) 72 71 70 75 288 Titleist
T4 Jacob Oleson (Den) 73 72 75 68 288
T4 Lee Slattery (Eng) 67 70 75 76 288
T4 Nathan Smith (USA) 75 71 71 71 288
Titleist signifies Titleist ball usage only