England's Tommy Fleetwood came through a playoff against Stephen Gallacher of Scotland and Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez to win his first European Tour event at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Fleetwood took the win at the first extra hole when both Gallacher and Gonzalez failed to sink makeable birdie putts at the par-5 18th. Fleetwood was left with a four-footer to take the title and he duly rolled it in.
"The other two guys were a little unlucky with their putts," said the 22-year-old. "Then all of a sudden I had four feet for the win. God knows how I made contact."
During regulation play, the leaderboard was extremely congested and any number of players had a chance of victory.
Scotland's Stephen Gallacher looked to be out of the race when he stumbled to a triple bogey on the 11th hole. But the Dubai Desert Classic champion came back strongly with birdies at the 14th and 16th, then a superb eagle at the home hole. It was a fine performance for a man who was suffering with an injured back.
"I was just happy to be playing to be honest. I actually hit the ball really well. It was only the short irons I was struggling with, I could not really get into my posture," he said. "On the 18th I knew I needed to hole the eagle putt to have a chance. It was a great putt, just a shame I couldn't do it again."
Fleetwood began the final day tied at the top of the leaderboard with Gonzalez, but quickly the Englishman was alone in front when Gonzalez opened with a double-bogey six.
Scott Henry of Scotland set the clubhouse target of 17-under-par after an eagle at the home hole, then Austria's Bernd Wiesberger matched that number. Their total was surpassed by Gallacher, before both Fleetwood and Gonzalez made birdie at the last to set up a three-way playoff which the Englishman took at the first time of asking.
With the win, Fleetwood has earned an exemption on the European Tour to the end of 2015, he has also gained a place in the 2013 WGC-HSBC Champions event.
Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland Aug 22-25, purse €1,629,000, par 72
1 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 68 65 67 70 270 €272,2730 T2 Stephen Gallacher (Sco) 71 68 64 67 270 €141,889 T2 Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 65 65 70 70 270 €141,889 T4 Scott Henry (Sco) 72 65 67 67 271 €75,475 T4 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 65 66 72 68 271 €75,475 T6 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 71 66 69 66 272 €49,010 T6 Brett Rumford (Aus) 66 69 69 68 272 €49,010 T6 Paul Waring (Eng) 75 63 67 67 272 €49,010 9 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 71 68 66 68 273 €36,594 T10 David Drysdale (Sco) 71 67 68 68 274 €29,283 T10 Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 71 69 67 67 274 €29,283 T10 Shane Lowry (Irl) 68 70 67 69 274 €29,283 T10 Richie Ramsay (Sco) 69 68 69 68 274 €29,283
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
Where next? PGA Tour - Adam Scott wins The Barclays
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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