Australian left hander Richard Green ended a decade of disappointment by claiming his second European Tour title as he put himself – all those watching - through an emotional wringer in the BA-CA Open, presented by Telekom Austria at Fontana Golf Club near Vienna.
The 36 year old from Melbourne needed to get down in two putts from 12 feet at the 72nd hole to beat Frenchman Jean-Francois Remesy and secure the title, exactly ten years and 100 days since he stunned Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam in a play-off for the Dubai Desert Classic.
However Green rushed his first putt four feet past and missed the return. His bogey six gave him a round of 70 and a 16 under par total of 268, which had been set just minutes earlier by Remesy’s superb closing 64.
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez, who was disturbed by a camera click on the 18th tee and missed his birdie chance, finished in a share of third with England’s Chris Gane and Sweden’s Michael Jonzon on 269.
For Gane – another left hander like Green – it represented his best pay day after he rattled in a 30 foot eagle putt at the last.
Meanwhile Green and Remesy, the 2004 and 2005 Open de France champion, returned to the 18th and this time it was Remesy who faltered, his approach to the par five finding the rocks on the edge of the water surrounding the green.
The best he could do was a bogey six and Green made absolutely certain of a long-overdue win by chipping to within inches of the hole from the back of the green to win the first prize of £147,036.
Play had been delayed by more than two hours in the afternoon by thunder and lightning there was no disguising the sheer feeling of relieve which enveloped the Australian afterwards.
Green said: “I feel very drained and relieved. I was very nervous on the 18th green and I had to compose myself after getting into the play-off. I suppose it was a bit of an adrenaline putt at the 18th green when I raced it four feet past.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting to hit it that hard and the second one lipped out. I then had to get the ball into the hole to be sure of being in the play-off.
“I am relieved now. I feel I am in the prime of my career and I always felt I would win again and get the monkey off my back. I suppose it was a more workmanlike victory. At the moment I feel all the emotions and just relieved that that my golf game held up.
“My brain was pretty scrambled as I signed my card but I still felt I could win. My caddie, Stuart, told me to remember my play-off record. I won in Dubai ten years ago and I also won the Australian Masters after a play-off. Simon Dyson beat me in the KLM Open but three wins out of four isn’t bad. I had to get my focus back for the play off and Stuart’s words definitely helped.”
Green added: “My goal has been to get back into the top 50 in the world. It’s a pity that the US Open has come too soon but I am looking forward to some big events ahead. When I double-bogeyed the third early on and Miguel holed out for an eagle two from the fairway there was a four shot swing and that rattled me but hopefully now I have banished the self-belief that I was lacking.”
Remesy birdied five of the last eight holes to share the best round of the day with US Open-bound Graeme McDowall of Northern Ireland and admitted: “I hadn’t worked as hard as I should have done on my game. The level is so high now that it was a bit like the train leaving the platform with me still on the platform.”
Click here to listen to winner Richard Green's day 4 interview.
Click here to listen to runner-up Jean-Francois Remesy's thoughts at losing the playoff to Richard Green.
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