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Andy Sullivan still on cloud nine after English Championship victory

Andy Sullivan still on cloud nine after English Championship victory

Andy Sullivan admitted he was "still on cloud nine" after claiming his first victory in nearly five years at the English Championship and aims to continue his hot form at the 2020 Celtic Classic.

Andy Sullivan

The Englishman won by seven shots in Hertfordshire to claim his fourth European Tour title but his first since the 2015 Portugal Masters. Sullivan secured victory three times in the 2015 season which helped him achieve his goal of playing in the EurAsia Cup and Ryder Cup in the following year.

And the 33-year-old is buoyant after breaking his winning duck and heads to The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport at the top of the UK Swing Order of Merit standings.

"It’s a long time waiting for that fourth win and I couldn’t be happier," Sullivan said. "Nice to do it in my own country and get back home with the family and celebrate. I’m still on cloud nine, it’s not quite sunk in yet.

"Florence (his fiancee) was elated, bless her, it was my first win with her. She was over the moon and it was good to see a proper smile on her face.

"It’s funny, I said to Rids (Tom Ridley, caddie) after that it didn’t feel that comfortable – 12 was massive for me. It was the first time I’d taken notice of the leaderboard and saw Adrian was just two behind me.

"I said to Rids we needed to put our foot down because he’s coming hard. The putter got hot and I holed some really good putts down the stretch. It was nice to win by seven, but it really didn’t feel like that. On the last two holes I felt I could relax and enjoy the moment.

"Before lockdown I felt I was playing really, really well. I just felt that my attitude wasn’t there, my head wasn’t in the space to win a golf tournament, or compete in a tournament.

"There was a lot of self-reflection over lockdown and I opened up to my team about a lot of things personally and golf-wise, talked through it and came out with a plan to get my way to being happy and smiley on the golf course and being competitive.

"I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. To come out and be competitive at the British Masters and then win the third event, it’s amazing and reinforces what we’re doing as a team.

"It’s a lot different to how I remember it. I played in 2012 and think it played all week and played really long. It’s a little firmer but it’s in great nick. It’s more of a different challenge, there were a lot of birdies last week and a lot of chances. I’m not quite sure you’ll see the same amount this week – hopefully no one beats my scoring record."

Adrian Otaegui

Adrian Otaegui was Sullivan's closest challenger at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club and, despite narrowly missing out on his second European Tour title, the 27-year-old Spaniard was happy with his display as he sits in fifth on the UK Swing Order of Merit, with ten spots in the 2020 U.S. Open Championship available for the highest placed finishers after the first five events.

"It was a good performance all week long. I played well all four days, six under first day, five under, four under and five under. A solid week," Otaegui said.

"I felt very good and confident on the course. I felt relaxed and that was the goal of the week. What I wanted to do, I did well. The result was good and I was feeling good with my swing, I holed some good putts and it was good for confidence.

"I didn’t feel very comfortable during the Hero Open. I think my game was good, I played good on the first day but I made some mistakes and on the second day I didn’t feel very comfortable on the golf course.

"In the days before the English Championship I was trying to feel relaxed on the golf course, make a good, smooth swing. That was the goal, and I did well.

"I’m feeling relaxed this week. I’m still working on that, it’s a feeling I want to have on the course and while practicing.

"I played here in 2014, that week I had my Dad on the bag. I have some good memories, we had a good week. I made the cut. The course was playing different to this, it was raining and the course was wet. The rough was thicker.

"This week, I don’t know how the weather will be, but it might be lower scoring than six years ago. It’s a great place to be, great memories of The 2010 Ryder Cup, watching the videos of that putt on 16 and the atmosphere must have been amazing.

"I don’t think I’ll think of those shots during the tournament. Yesterday I played a practice round with Pablo (Larrazábal) and Emilio Cuartero (Blanco) and we were talking about that on the last few holes. It’s something you have in mind on some of the holes.

"I had in mind playing the first five events, I think that’s still what I’ll do. I have two weeks on the same golf course. I just want to keep playing well, and keep enjoying the rest of the UK Swing."

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