Friday, 19 March 2010

Gregory Havret brought a thrilling Barclays Scottish Open to a sensational climax by defeating World Number Three Phil Mickelson in a sudden-death play-off to take the £500,000 top prize at Loch Lomond.

The Frenchman took on the role of silent assassin during the tumultuous final round on the bonnie banks, as Luke Donald, and then Ernie Els charged at Mickelson during an unbelievable back nine.

But, at the end of the day, it was Havret who overcame the star names with a nerveless final round display that fully deserved to take the title.

After Els had surpassed Donald’s clubhouse lead with a final round 65, Havret and Mickelson were standing on the 17th tee, tied on 14 under facing Loch Lomond’s testing finish.

Havret made his par three on 17 before Mickelson drained a 30 foot birdie putt to set up a great chance to win, but the American gave that stroke back at the 18th and Havret’s par four took the final pairing of the day into extra time.

Mickelson struck the first blow of the play-off and pushed his drive left, perilously close to the Loch and in some horrible rough, allowing Havret to relax, open his shoulders and send his drive sailing down the middle of the fairway.

Given his lie, Mickelson hit a fine second shot out of trouble, but his third shot was struck too hard and as his delicate chip just missed the hole for par, Havret, who had found the greenside bunker with his approach and splashed out to five feet, was left with that tricky length putt. He duly drained it to take the title.

“It feels awesome to have won,” said Havret , who professed his new love for the bag pipes having been piped on to the 18th green for the prize giving ceremony. 

“It's a dream come true.  I have to say that the French Open is obviously very important for me and for us, but after that, to win a tournament in Scotland is just something else.

“Really over everything, maybe The Open is over that, but after that, maybe BMW PGA or something like that.  But it's just an awesome tournament; this, the BMW PGA, to win one of these two tournaments, it's just a fantastic dream.”

While Havret took the main spoils at Loch Lomond, Donald, Els and Mickelson were content to have displayed the kind of form that could make them contenders for The Open.

Donald, who won a 30 year old bottle of Ballantine’s whisky for the lowest score of the day on a back nine count back after himself and Richard Sterne recorded seven under par 64s, is back in the groove after a three week break, while Els seems to have fully broken in his new clubs as he heads to Carnoustie with the third place prize of £277,288 in his back pocket.

Mickelson’s competitive juices are well and truly flowing after thrilling the record final day crowd of 22,431 at Loch Lomond.

Havret will join that venerable threesome in Carnoustie after his victory at Loch Lomond ensured he took the last available spot at The Open and no-one should be surprised if the Carnoustie showpiece once more features a Frenchman on Sunday afternoon.

Click here to listen Gregory Havet's winners' interview.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1HAVRET, GrégoryFRA18-14
3ELS, ErnieRSA18-13
T4STERNE, RichardRSA18-11
T4EDBERG, PelleSWE18-11
T4DONALD, LukeENG18-11
R2D Fantasy

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