Sunday, 11 March 2018
Andrew Johnston  (Getty Images)
Andrew Johnston (Getty Images)

Andrew Johnston was happy to see his game trending in the right direction after losing a play-off to Matt Wallace at the Hero Indian Open.

The Englishman is becoming something of a specialist on the European Tour's toughest layouts, with his only win so far coming at one over par at the Real Club Valderrama Open de España, hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation in 2016.

His declaration that he would celebrate that win by getting "hammered" only increased his profile and army of fans but, after finishing 116th on last season's Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, he admitted he needed to refocus his efforts on the course.

That work has quickly produced results and the man popularly known as Beef was happy with his week at DLF Golf and Country Club.

"I’m very happy with the way I played this year," he said. "Last year was tough. This year’s start has been good so I've just got to keep pushing on and keep working hard."

A bogey-free round of 66 on Sunday got Johnston into the play-off and while he laid up on the second trip up the last, Wallace hit a huge drive and stunning four iron to get on the par five's putting surface in two.

Johnston had a birdie putt that would have put major pressure on his compatriot but it agonisingly lipped out and Wallace was left with two putts for victory.

"I feel good as I played very well today, like I did on Friday," said Johnston. "I was happy to be able to put up a good score today and force a play-off.

"I was trying to stay patient and I wanted to start well. Yesterday I made a mistake on the eighth and made a birdie on ninth. Today I made birdies on both holes which was good. I played solid on the back nine so I played lovely all day.

Last year was tough. This year’s start has been good so I've just got to keep pushing on and keep working hard - Andrew Johnston

"Anything could have happened out there. I just tried to play my own game and I knew that I was just a couple of shots behind. When I birdied 17th and I got to the green on 18th, I realised we were tied.

"I didn’t like the yardage at the 18th. It felt like it was just setting me down the left towards the traps a lot of the time. I said, 'this is a percentage golf course and stick to it'. I’ve been hitting the wedges well, putting well and sticking to my game plan and that was what I worked for.

"I’m slightly frustrated as I attempted a similar putt on the 18th during regulation play. I didn’t think it broke that much and I hit a good putt but it didn’t go in.

"It’s alright. I had a very good week."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WALLACE, MattENG18-11
2JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-11
3KIM, SihwanUSA18-8
T4LARRAZÁBAL, PabloESP18-7
T4SCHWAB, MatthiasAUT18-7
6GRILLO, EmilianoARG18-5

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