Morrison holds on for first Tour win

11/04/2010 15:53:20

James Morrison secured his maiden European Tour title at the Madeira Islands Open BPI - Portugal after holding off a determined charge from Oliver Fisher.

Overnight leader Morrison carded a final round 70 to finish on 20 under par, one clear of Fisher, who roared into contention with a host of birdies on the final day.

Fisher finished with an impressive 65 - the joint-lowest round of the day - while George Murray claimed third on 14 under following a 73.

Morrison endured a shaky start to his final round, bogeying the first hole and dropping a further shot on the par five third after finding the water with his second shot.

However, he recovered well by picking up a shot at the sixth before registering an eagle at the 569 yard eighth and another birdie at the tenth to regain control.

Fisher flew out of the blocks with four successive birdies from the third hole and the Englishman also birdied the eighth on his way to a front nine of 31.

Another birdie at 14 took him to within two of Morrison, who then bogeyed the penultimate hole to set up a grandstand finish.

But although Fisher managed to make four on the par five 18th, after narrowly missing a 25 foot eagle attempt, it proved to no avail as Morrison also ended his round with a birdie, getting up and down from a greenside bunker after going for the green in two.

"I'm overwhelmed," said a delighted Morrison. "It hasn't really sunk in yet. I don't think it'll sink in until Monday. I'm over the moon."

On the dramatic events of the 18th, he added: "I knew I had to go for it because I knew Ollie would hit the green and make four at least.

"I knew I had to make four to win. So I hit a three wood off a downhill lie and it was the best shot of my career because it meant the most.

"I didn't hit it fantastic but when I saw it get over the water and into the back trap I knew bunker shots are my strength and I knew I could get up and down and make four and not have to worry about Ollie.

"The putt was about six feet and it went straight in. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous standing over that putt. I was feeling it more than I've ever felt it before but I just stuck to my normal routine and holed it."

Morrison admitted the victory represented a huge step forward in his career.

"Everything's changed," he said. "I've got my card for next year. I've had a good start this year but I'm a long way from keeping my card but I've secured that now and I've got a great ranking.

"I can play Wentworth, Loch Lomond, I can play all the big events now and who knows what can happen from here. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully the doors keep opening."

Fisher was satisfied with his performance on the final day, but also reserved generous praise for Morrison.

"I said to myself if I put any pressure on him I'd be happy," said the 21-year-old. "And I did manage to put pressure on him so I'm pleased.

"Of course I'm a little disappointed not to win but I've had a great week. The 72 on Friday cost me a little bit probably but two 65s over the weekend has been great. Second place is never a bad finish."

"I've known James quite a few years now," added Fisher. "We played together when we were younger. Credit to him, it's a fantastic win and all the best to him for the future."

Murray briefly threatened to make it a three-way fight for the title when he bounced back from an opening bogey with an eagle at six to move to 16 under.

But consecutive bogeys at the next two holes undermined the Scot's challenge and he was unable to make up ground over the back nine.

Despite that, Murray remained upbeat and admitted: "I was delighted with third place. It gives me enough money to play a whole season on the Challenge Tour and not have to worry."

Charles-Edouard Russo was fourth on 13 under after recording an eagle and five birdies in a final round of 67, while Alessandro Tadini finished a shot further back following a 66, which contained no fewer than eight birdies.

Michael Hoey and George Coetzee both ended the week with 68s to reach 11 under, the same score as Gary Clark, while a closing 65 saw Jean-Baptiste Gonnet surge into a tie for ninth on nine under.