Mel Reid, Sergio Garcia and Aaron Rai all made it a day to remember for European golf. Alex Perry wraps up the week’s tour news
Where to start with all that? Before we get to Mel Reid, it looked for most of the week that one of the old guard were going to get back in the European Tour winners’ circle at the Scottish Open.
At one point on Saturday the leaderboard featured Robert Rock (43), Ian Poulter (44), Padraig Harrington (49), Lee Westwood (47), and Wade Ormsby (40).
Westwood even opened with a 9-under 62 that included this outrageous shot that almost turned into an albatross…
In the end they all had to settle for top 20s as Aaron Rai (25) crashed through the field with a round-of-the-weekend 64 to set the clubhouse lead at 11-under. The score was matched by Tommy Fleetwood (29) thanks to a 15-foot clutch putt at the 72nd…
Rock, meanwhile, broke everyone’s hearts by inexplicably choosing to chip from the fringe and leaving an 10-footer that drifted agonisingly wide…
So it was just two Englishmen into the play-off, and both left three-foot par putts at the first extra hole, the 18th. Rai who took his chance, but Fleetwood couldn’t match it…
It’s Rai’s second European Tour win – he broke his duck at last season’s Hong Kong Open – and first in a Rolex Series event earning him just shy of a million euros.
Rai, best known for wearing two gloves and having iron headcovers, is also incredibly humble, as he proved following the event, admitting “no one wants to win that way”.
The Scottish Open was also the end of one of the golf’s more storied careers.
Twenty-nine years, four months and 16 days since Paul Lawrie began his European Tour career, he signed off fittingly at his home Open with eight trophies, including the Claret Jug, on his mantelpiece.
And over the Atlantic?
Then we all flicked onto Sky Sports’ YouTube channel to watch Mel Reid make it two English winners in a row on the LPGA Tour.
Reid, who has six LET titles to her name, has been in a rich vein of form recently, finishing T7 at the ANA Inspiration before a top-5 behind Georgia Hall last week in Portland.
The 33-year-old, an LPGA member since 2017, won the Shoprite Classic at 19-under-par, edging out Jennifers Kupcho and Song.
And she gave us a good laugh at the trophy presentation, too…
It’s the second major of the year next for the women, as Hannah Green defends her PGA Championship title at Aronimink.
The wins for Europe kept rolling in as Sergio Garcia won his 11th PGA Tour title and first since his major breakthrough at Augusta in 2017.
Garcia made headlines this week for putting with his eyes closed – yes, really – but it was the tale of two iron shots on Sunday to clinch the Sanderson Farms Championship,
American Peter Malnati, whose sole victory came at this event five years ago, lapped the field with a final-round 63 meaning Garcia needed to make up three shots down the stretch.
An eagle at the par-5 14th drew the Spaniard level…
And, needing a three down the last to win, stiffed his approach from 170 yards…
Which was your favourite?
And, of course, one last putt with his eyes wide shut…
If you’re want another fix of professional golf on Monday, be sure to follow the season-ender of the brilliant 2020protour campaign from Huddersfield Golf Club. You can catch the action over on our Facebook page, where we’ll be streaming live throughout the day.
Wath’s Nick Poppleton is the Order of Merit leader, and he also needs six birdies to win £20,000 in the Birdie Challenge. It’s going to be one hell of a day.
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