Back on Top: 2011 Review

26/04/2012 13:48:50
Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño won for the first time in three years at the Barclays Singapore Open  (EuropeanTour)
Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño won for the first time in three years at the Barclays Singapore Open (EuropeanTour)

There have been several lengthy play-offs in the history of The European Tour but none which have taken 16 hours to complete. Yet that was exactly the situation which unfolded before Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño finally laid claim to the Barclays Singapore Open.

In a tournament plagued by thunder and lightning interruptions, which eventually forced officials to cut it to 54 holes, the Spaniard and Filipino Juvic Pagunsan faced extra holes after both men finished on 14 under par 199. The play-off began at 4pm on Sunday afternoon, but more storms meant it did not finish until 8am on Monday morning following Fernandez- Castaño’s ten-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole.

The Spaniard’s delight was understandable because, six months ago, there were serious doubts as to whether he would play golf again beset, as he was, by back problems which led to a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

In addition to that, some serious woes with his putter blighted his return to the game although a recent conversion to the claw grip seemed to be paying dividends; illustrated by sixth, second and 12th place finishes in the three European Tour events in Spain in October.

His progress and renewed confidence in that department was highlighted, not only by his winning birdie putt, but also by the 20 foot curler he holed on the final green in regulation to force the play-off itself. There was disappointment for Pagunsan but some consolation in the fact that his runners-up cheque helped him move top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit.