Weekend winners: Olesen's Turkish delight, Smith tops Challenge Tour
European Tour: Turkish Airlines Open – Thorbjorn Olesen
What was a seven-shot lead overnight was down to one in Turkey but Olesen got the job done, eventually by three shots, for his fourth win on Tour.
No player has ever squandered that big a lead on the European Tour but Horsey (65) was out in 29 and got within one when he two-putted for a birdie at the 12th. But the Dane also made a four, added another birdie two holes later and made another at the next.
He needed something.
And he delivered ? https://t.co/lf1lVlZOlJ
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 6, 2016
Olesen, who shot a 62 on Friday, bogeyed 16 but two pars for a 69 gave him the first prize of just over one million Euros.
China’s Li Haotong (65) shared second with Horsey with Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger two shots further back. Masters champion Danny Willett, who needed to finish fifth or better to reclaim top spot in the Race to Dubai from Henrik Stenson, finished joint 68 in a 78-man field. He did consider withdrawing from the Nedbank such was the disillusion with his game.
What Olesen said: “I knew it was not going to be easy. I knew on this course you can really shoot a low score if you get it going and some of the guys did that on the front nine.
“It got really close and put a lot of pressure on me but I felt I was very patient, mentally I was strong in the middle of the round. It was very difficult those last four holes but before that I felt like I played some really, really great golf this week.
“It’s been a bad spell for me. I played well at the start of the season and felt like I had a good chance to actually make the Ryder Cup team. In the summer I just got into a bad spell and played badly in the big events. Coming back here and then winning such a big tournament is huge.”
Challenge Tour: NBO Golf Classic Grand Final – Bernd Ritthammer
The German made it three wins in 2016 to finish second on the money list but Jordan Smith’s tie for 17th was enough to give him the Road to Oman Rankings title, just a year after topping the EuroPro money list.
Ritthammer parred the last six holes for a 69 and 18 under winning total to beat Jens Dantorp (65) who was left to rue a closing bogey – the Swede would have secured his European Tour card had he won.
France’s Adrien Saddier was the unlucky man, finishing 17th and less than 1,000 Euros short of a card. Saddier also crucially bogeyed the last so the top 16 who began the week incredibly finished in the prize positions.
— Challenge Tour (@Challenge_Tour) November 6, 2016
What Ritthammer said: “I actually struggled quite a bit, especially with my long game, but I lost a bit of confidence on the back nine.
“My putting saved me out there, I was able to scramble well and made some crucial putts, and I am just so happy to have got it done – it’s important, it gives me a slightly higher ranking than I would have had without the win, which might be crucial to get into some bigger events next season.
“I knew Jens needed to win because I played with him in the last two rounds, so when I saw him climbing the leaderboard I knew what was happening for him and I feel really sorry for him because he had a great week and he would have deserved to win and to graduate.”
The Final Rankings pic.twitter.com/ZaqWKcNoVt
— Challenge Tour (@Challenge_Tour) November 5, 2016
PGA Tour: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – Rod Pampling
The Australian birdied four of the last six holes to capture his first win in 10 years. The 47-year-old signed off with a 25-footer at the 72nd hole to beat Brooks Koepka, who made a late charge with three birdies from the 13th, by two shots.
Francesco Molinari began the Sunday in 46th place and ended it in fourth after firing a 61. The Italian birdied five holes going out, added an eagle at the 11th and had he birdied the last two would have produced a 59. Pampling himself had a 12-foot putt for the same magic number on day one.
cc: Hal Sutton https://t.co/e7iZpSsITQ
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 7, 2016
What Pampling said: “Coming back from what we’ve had the last few years to get a win under our belt is just phenomenal.
“It’s just the self belief that I know (my game is) still there. The body feels healthy, I know I have the game for out here. It was just being patient, grinding out there on the Web Tour. It’s extremely hard out there but it certainly gives you the confidence that you can compete against the younger guys and come out here.”