Markus Brier ensured that Austrian golf celebrated its greatest ever day at the BA-CA Golf Open presented by Telekom Austria as he became the first Austrian winner on The European Tour. Brier completed a dream week at his home golf course, the magnificent Fontana Golf Club.
His final round of three under par 68 gave him a winning total of 18 under 266 and ensured a three stroke victory over Denmark’s Søren Hansen, with England’s Simon Dyson taking third place a further stroke back
What a day, and indeed week, Brier endured. It truly was the stuff that dreams are made of, and the 38 year old from Vienna lapped up every second of the adulation bestowed upon him by the wonderful home crowd, who packed the stands around the 18th green in their thousands and created the kind of atmosphere that his performance deserved.
There were many fine rounds of golf throughout the week, but Brier’s overall scores of 65-67-66-68 topped them all.
His final round 68 may have been his highest score of the week, but when you consider the challenges he fought off amidst some unbearable pressure, it was perhaps his best of the week.
He had to show great determination after coming under attack from Hansen and tournament favourite Colin Montgomerie of Scotland. Two early bogeys by Brier, and a run of three birdies by Montgomerie brought the eight-time European Tour Number One within a stroke of the Austrian, with the Scot making up five of the six shots he trailed Brier before the final round.
With playing-partner Dyson catching him, too, Brier needed to regroup and did so with a birdie just before the turn to edge back ahead on his own.
Hansen's run of four successive birdies from the eighth, though, then took him alongside Brier but, at the same time, the pressure from Montgomerie folded when the Scot dropped five shots in four holes from the 11th.
Hansen, without a win since his maiden 2002 Irish Open success, finally gave way, too, with a bogey on 16, to allow Brier his victory march in front of that ecstatic crowd.
An eventful week for Brier, which included a hole in one in the first round and a pitch-in eagle-two in the third, ended with two putts on the last after safely negotiating the lake, to secure the €216,660 first prize and the unique DE HAAS ‘Diamond Trophy’.
“To make history as the first Austrian to win on The European Tour is fantastic,” said Brier. “I am proud to have done it. It took me seven years, but I was the first Austrian on The European Tour so it should be me who wins first! And to do it here around my home track is just unbelievable.
“It has been a dream four days for me – I have just been in the zone the whole time. Maybe I had two or three bad swings today but apart from that I played great all week. I wasn’t too worried today – even after four holes when I had dropped a couple. I was just trying to make a few good swings to get back in the game and I managed to do that, and then I knew that I would score on the back nine so it was okay.”
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