Sunday, 17 May 2015
Day 4 Highlights - Open de España
James Morrison produced a brilliant final round display to claim a comprehensive four shot victory at the Open de España.

The 30 year old Englishman, whose previous European Tour title came in Madeira five years ago, had shared the lead with compatriot David Howell at the start of the day after a third round 68 in fast and windy conditions at Real Club de Golf El Prat.

With the breeze up again in the final round, Morrison’s flawless closing 69 blew the field away as he led throughout.

After trading four consecutive pars with Howell at the start of the day, Morrison chipped in from behind the green for birdie at the fifth.

Another gain from 12 feet at the ninth extended his advantage, and although the likes of Howell, Francesco Molinari and defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez all threatened to put him under pressure, a run of eight straight pars on the back nine saw Morrison reach the 18th with a three shot lead.

He finished in style with a birdie from ten feet to earn the biggest prize of his career and €250,000, with victory taking him from 296th in the Official World Golf Ranking to just outside the top 160 and completing a return to form after he had to regain his card at Qualifying School in 2013.

“It feels amazing,” said Morrison. “It’s been five years and I’ve had a lot of chances between then and now to win and haven’t done it but I drew on all my experience and got over the line.

“The game plan was to stick to my process – I know it’s a cliché but it’s true. 

“In years past when I haven’t done it it’s been too much looking at leaderboards and outside influences, and today even down to that last putt I wanted to hole that putt badly and stuck to my process all day long and executed which feels amazing.

“You try and enjoy it now; I’ve been off the booze this week for the first time in ages, so I’m very thirsty!”

Morrison now turns his attention to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, an event he led at the halfway stage in 2012.

“Having a home week next week - I live 20 minutes away - so I’ll try and ride the crest of a wave and get back to it Monday,” he added.

“My wife and my little boy mean everything to me. I couldn’t have done it without them and my dad and my mum.”

While Morrison was a worthy winner, Jiménez – who aced the eighth on Friday – again provided the day's highlights.

The 51 year old holed his approach for eagle at the fifth – prompting an increasingly familiar celebratory jig – and was a foot away from a second hole-in-one at the eighth.

A round of 67 gave him a share of second alongside Howell, Molinari, and halfway leader Edouard Espana of France.

“I always try to have fun on the golf course especially this week,” said Jiménez. “The public is so nice with me and it’s nice to play well for them.

“I am a senior, but I feel that the fifties have come too early for me. I will play some events on the Champions Tour but I will keep playing on the main Tour. As you see, I’m still hitting the ball very well and I giving myself chances to win.”

Two-time Ryder Cup player Molinari was within striking distance when he birdied the 12th and 13th, but then bogeyed the 16th and 17th.

“I fought all day and I did my best,” he said. “I am happy with how I performed this week. I made plenty of birdies, I played nice and aggressive, but I just finished short.

“James has done great. He made no bogeys which is pretty amazing in these conditions. It’s not easy to be leading when it’s playing so tough and tricky with the breeze, so well done to him; it’s a really good accomplishment.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MORRISON, JamesENG18-10
T2JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-6
T2ESPANA, EdouardFRA18-6
T2MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-6
T2HOWELL, DavidENG18-6
6GRILLO, EmilianoARG18-5

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