Eight Stroke Victory for Dredge in Madeira
European Tour title in considerable style when he won the Madeira Island Open at Santo da Serra with an eight stroke winning margin.
Dredge built his victory, the sixth by a first-time winner this season, on a stunning 12 under par 60 in the third round which took him eight shots clear of the field. It was the 11th round of 60 in the history of The European Tour but will not count in the record books as preferred lies were in operation.
Having twice secured his playing rights for The European Tour through the Challenge Tour, the 29 year old Welshman developed into one of the most consistent performers on The European Tour in 2002, claiming a second, third and seven top ten finishes on his way to 18th place in the Volvo Order of Merit. His maiden victory seemed to be just around the corner and it duly arrived among the mountains of Madeira.
Opening rounds of 69 and 72 left him one shot off the pace at the halfway stage but all opposition was swept aside during a sun-kissed third round. Six birdies on the front nine took him out in 30 and when he followed an eagle on the 11th with four birdies in the next five holes he stood on the threshold of an historic 59 but birdie putts on the 17th and 18th holes stayed above ground.
Nevertheless it was such a commanding performance from the highest ranked player in the field that the final outcome was never in doubt. The chasing pack were unable to close the gap on the final day and Dredge secured the title with a controlled one under par 71 for a 16 under par total of 272. His eight stroke winning margin was the second highest of the season behind Ernie Els’s ten-stroke victory in the Johnnie Walker Classic.
Victory earned him €100,000 (£67,789) and lifted him to 20th in the Volvo Order of Merit.
“It feels wonderful,” he said. “I have waited a long time for this so will savour it for a few weeks. Going out in the third round and shooting 60 made it so much easier for me and although I made a few errors I knew my game was in good shape.
“When I was asked if I had thought about holing a winning putt when I was a 15 year old I never imagined it would be from four inches and having about eight putts from there.”
Fredrik Andersson of Sweden and the English pair of Brian Davis and Andrew Marshall shared second place on eight under par 280.
Andersson closed with a 69 for his best ever finish on The European Tour International Schedule but it was always a battle for second place.
“I can’t say I played perfectly but holed enough putts and scored well which is the main thing,” he said. “There was no chance of catching Bradley after his round yesterday so to finish second is good.”
Marshall, a Qualifying School Graduate, also recorded his best finish on The European Tour International Schedule with a final round of 70 while Davis, the 2000 Open de España champion closed with a four under par 68.
With prize money, capped to €400,000, also counting for the Challenge Tour Rankings, England’s Sam Little also made significant progress after claiming fifth place after a final round of 69 for an eight under par total of 280.