Everything you need to know from a thrilling week at The Renaissance Club.
Here is everything you need to know from a thrilling week at The Renaissance Club.
Rai of sunshine
Aaron Rai beat Tommy Fleetwood in a play-off to win his first Rolex Series title. The Englishman signed for a wonderful 64 to set the target at 11 under but countryman Fleetwood holed a 20 foot putt on the last for a closing birdie to take it to extra holes. It was advantage Fleetwood off the tee as Rai found a bunker but the 25-year-old rescued his par and when Fleetwood three putted from just off the green, Rai had his second European Tour title. Rai's victory comes after he finished second at last week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, and moves him into the top five on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking. "It's incredible," he said. "I played a lot in Scotland growing up, dreamed of playing in a European Tour event in Scotland. To be able to play in it was incredible a couple of years ago and to be able to go still further is an incredible feeling.”
Fleetwood feels form returning
It has by no stretch of the imagine been a bad year for Fleetwood, but the World Number 17 feels his best form is coming back. After his first five starts following golf's resumption produce a best finish of tied 29th, the Englishman has backed up a top-three finish in Portugal by coming within a whisker of his first win of 2020. “The way I played this week, played really well in Portugal and then not so good at the U.S. Open but clearly my game is coming back,” he said. “I said that at the start of the week. Everything I've been working on has been really good and felt more like the player that I feel like I should be, really, for a lot of this week, and yeah, tighten things up and hopefully my time's coming.”
Weekend weather provides stern challenge
Fleetwood and Ian Poulter are both familiar with British conditions so they know what autumn can bring. Mother Nature certainly threw everything she had at them on Saturday. "I loved every minute of it. It's golf, isn't it? Somebody's got to enjoy it," Fleetwood said. "Let's face it, the money we play for these days, a day like that doesn't do any harm does it? It's fine, I'd play in it every day if this is what we're doing so no problems." Poulter added: "It tests everything, that you have. You've got all shots from archives you haven't hit for a while. It's miserable but we're playing golf. We're in a lucky position to be here playing this Aberdeen Standard Scottish Open for a lot of money. A lot of guys have put a lot of hard work in to get us here. We're here, we're wet, so we just need to dry off and go again tomorrow." The weather can certainly count Fleetwood's yardage book among its victims.
Lawrie bows out
Paul Lawrie couldn't make the cut in his 620th and final European Tour event before switching his focus to the senior circuit. However, golf stars were lining up to hail the 1999 Open Champion.
Just ran into @PaulLawriegolf ,he said this is his last event on the main tour!!!— Thomas Bjørn (@thomasbjorngolf) October 1, 2020
Paul, you will be missed out here.
Every young professional could learn so much from you. A great and fierce competitor and a true gentleman at the same time.
Good luck my friend@EuropeanTour 💪
@PaulLawriegolf what a fabulous career you have had @EuropeanTour ,the longevity of you career & the wins you have had says it all & 2 @RyderCupEurope— Catriona Matthew (@Beany25) October 2, 2020
appearances + everything else you have started at the same time @paullawriefound @tartanprotour #respect & huge congrats 👏
Good bunker, bad bunker
Padraig Harrington made this spectacular up-and-down from a bunker on Friday to guarantee he would finish on the right side of the cutline, then went on to record his first top ten finish for two years. However, the bunker gods were not on Ian Poulter's side on Sunday.