Spanish Rookie Gets First Euro Tour Win

By Sports NetworkJune 12, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourHILVERSUM, Netherlands -- Spanish rookie Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano posted a 3-under 67 on Sunday to come from behind and earn his first European Tour victory at the KLM Dutch Open. He finished at 11-under-par 269 and won by two shots at Hilversumsche Golf Club.
'It's difficult to explain,' said Fernandez-Castano. 'I went out today to play my best golf, and that's what happened. It's a dream come true. It's the icing on the cake.'
Gary Emerson, the overnight leader, struggled with the driver on Sunday. He two-putted for birdie at the last to polish off an even-par 70 and finish alone in second at minus-9.
Paul Broadhurst, who was tied with Fernandez-Castano one shot behind Emerson at the start of the final round, also shot an even-par 70. He took third at 8-under-par 272.
The lead turned quickly Sunday as Fernandez-Castano bogeyed his first, but rebounded with a birdie at No. 2. On the par-four third, Fernandez-Castano hit a 7-iron from 145 yards and dunked it for an eagle-2. That gave him the lead, one he did not relinquish, at 10 under par.
'I had about 145 yards to the pin and I tried to pitch it a few yards short of that,' admitted Fernandez-Castano. 'It just went in. I can't complain.'
Emerson only trailed by a shot and holed a nice 10-foot par save at seven. He knocked his approach inside 10 feet at the eighth, while Fernandez-Castano had close to 30 feet. The Spaniard drained his long putt, but Emerson ran home his putt to stay within one.
The ninth proved to be a critical hole. Emerson drove into the trees on the right, but had an opening that allowed him to play his second just short of the green. Fernandez-Castano hit his approach to 25 feet and Emerson played his third 3 feet short of the hole. Fernandez-Castano sank another long birdie putt and Emerson missed his to fall three behind.
Emerson bogeyed the 10th to drift four back, but last year's Russian Open winner had one trick left up his sleeve.
Emerson, who holed out for eagle at the first on Saturday, made eagle at No. 12 in the third round. On Sunday, he hit a 4-iron through the green and appeared to be in trouble considering Fernandez-Castano was 35 feet from the cup in two. Emerson chipped in for another eagle, and Fernandez-Castano three-putted for par.
While Fernandez-Castano holed the long birdie putts, and a 20-foot par save at 11, his flat stick let him down again at 14. He missed a 5-footer for par at the hole, but the lead stayed at two because Emerson made a mess of 14. Emerson, who missed the fairway with his drive, then again with his pitch-out, made bogey and was running out of holes.
Emerson badly pulled his tee ball left at the par-4 16th and landed in a right greenside bunker with his second. Fernandez-Castano found a fairway trap off the tee, but his second landed just long of the green. Emerson did not get up and down for par, but Fernandez-Castano did, and the margin was three with two holes to go.
Both parred 17 and Fernandez-Castano drove into trouble at the par-5 closing hole. He chipped out with his second and before he hit No. 3, Emerson hit a tremendous second that stopped 30 feet from the stick. Fernandez-Castano played his third into a greenside bunker.
Fernandez-Castano blasted out to 3 feet and Emerson nearly holed the eagle putt and tapped in for birdie. Had he made the eagle, that would have forced the tour rookie to make the putt to avoid a playoff.
It did not matter as Fernandez-Castano rolled in the par putt to become the seventh first-time winner on the European Tour in the 2005 campaign. He collected his first tour victory after only turning professional in September of last year. Fernandez-Castano was worried about retaining his card this year, now he has a two-year exemption.
'I was just one of those days where everything came easy,' said Fernandez- Castano. 'I was really feeling the pressure. I love this and think it will be good fun.'
Markus Brier shot a 1-under 69 and tied for fourth place with 2003 winner Maarten Lafeber, who posted a 2-under 68 on Sunday. The duo finished at 7-under-par 273.
Robert Coles fired a 4-under 66 to take a solo sixth at minus-6, while John Bickerton (65) and Peter Senior (70) shared seventh at 5-under-par 275.
David Lynn, last year's winner, carded an even-par 70 and tied for ninth with Pierre Fulke (68), Damien McGrane (68), Steven O'Hara (70), Andrew Oldcorn (71), Johan Skold (67) and Alessandro Tadini (72). The group was knotted at 3-under-par 277.
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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

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    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

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    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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    After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

    With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

    While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

    Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

    Zach Johnson: 13/2

    Rory McIlroy: 7/1

    Jordan Spieth: 8/1

    Rickie Fowler: 9/1

    Kevin Kisner: 12/1

    Xander Schauffele: 16/1

    Tony Finau: 16/1

    Matt Kuchar: 18/1

    Pat Perez: 25/1

    Brooks Koepka: 25/1

    Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

    Alex Noren: 50/1

    Tiger Woods: 50/1

    Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

    Danny Willett: 60/1

    Francesco Molinari: 60/1

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    Perez (T-3) looks to remedy 'terrible' major record

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 7:34 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez’s major record is infinitely forgettable. In 24 Grand Slam starts he has exactly one top-10 finish, more than a decade ago at the PGA Championship.

    “Terrible,” Perez said when asked to sum up his major career. “I won sixth [place]. Didn't even break top 5.”

    It’s strange, however, that his status atop The Open leaderboard through two rounds doesn’t seem out of character. The 42-year-old admits he doesn’t hit it long enough to contend at most major stops and also concedes he doesn’t exactly have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the game’s biggest events, but something about The Open works for him.

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    “I didn't like it the first time I came over. When I went to St. Andrews in '05, I didn't like it because it was cold and terrible and this and that,” he said. “Over the years, I've really learned to like to come over here. Plus the fans are so awesome here. They know a good shot. They don't laugh at you if you hit a bad shot.”

    Perez gave the fans plenty to cheer on Friday at Carnoustie, playing 17 flawless holes to move into a share of the lead before a closing bogey dropped him into a tie for third place after a second-round 68.

    For Perez, links golf is the great equalizer that mitigates the advantages some of the younger, more powerful players have and it brings out the best in him.

    “It's hard enough that I don't feel like I have to hit perfect shots. That's the best,” he said. “Greens, you can kind of miss a shot, and it won't run off and go off the green 40 yards. You're still kind of on the green. You can have a 60-footer and actually think about making it because of the speed.”