Romantic week for Paisley
"I just can't believe it. I played out of my skin – I didn't think I was capable of playing that well” – Chris Paisley.
Behind every great man...
Branden Grace may have made history when he shot the lowest round in a men’s major championship at Royal Birkdale last summer but a husband-and-wife duo denied him victory on home soil on Sunday.
Englishman Chris Paisley, who had his wife Keri on the bag while regular caddie Sean Russell took a week’s holiday, led the home favourite, Branden Grace, by one stroke after three days and shot six birdies in a composed final-round 66 to seal a maiden European Tour victory.
Grace, who has won eight European Tour and one PGA Tour event in his career, saw his chances effectively disappear when he found water off the tee on the 12th. Grace shot a remarkable 62 in the third round of The 2017 Open Championship last July, en route to finishing in a tie for sixth, but was beaten by three shots at the BMW South African Open at Glendower Golf Club.
Paisley paid tribute to his loving wife after his triumph: “She never put a foot wrong. It's the first time she has ever caddied and I just can't thank her enough,” he said. “My regular caddie is getting some stick but I just can't say enough about how good of a job she has done this week and just in life in general!”
Fleetwood and Hatton spark EurAsia Cup success
Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton shone as a European team warmed up for next autumn’s Ryder Cup by winning the EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Europe trailed Asia 6.5-5.5 heading into the final day but a strong set of singles performances saw them run out 14-10 winners to start Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn’s 2018 on a high.
Englishmen Fleetwood and Hatton – who were among a number of players in the field that have already earned exemptions for The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie – were the only men to win all three of their matches in the competition.
Missile mistake causes panic at Sony Open
From a ballistic missile alarm sent by mistake, to a six-hole play-off to decide the winner – the Sony Open in Hawaii will surely be remembered as one of 2018’s more bizarre golf tournaments. Once attention returned to on-course matters, James Hahn shot a masterful final-round 62 to set the clubhouse target but was matched at 17-under by Kizzire, following the 31-year-old’s 68. Both men’s best performance at The Open Championship came when they finished tied-68th at Royal Troon in 2016 and they were similarly inseparable over the first five play-off holes in Hawaii, making two pars and two birdies on the par-five 18th and a par at the par-three 17th. But upon playing the 17th for the sixth time this week, Hahn’s eight-footer for par lipped out to send Kizzire to the winner’s circle for the second time this term after winning the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November.
“It was kind of a marathon play-off,” Kizzire said. “I was hoping I could make an eagle on the first hole and end it quickly. It wasn’t pretty but I'll take it any way I can get it. I'm just going to keep working hard. “I want to get the third win. The first win was big, and this one is even bigger.”
Putting a priority for Spieth
A pair of Champion Golfers, who have already earned exemptions for The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, finished in the top 20 in Hawaii. The 2015 Champion Zach Johnson parlayed a strong start to the week into a final position of tied-14th, on 12-under, while current Champion, Jordan Spieth, finished six shots back of the leaders in a tie for 18th after a final-round 66.
Spieth’s favourite club is traditionally his invariably red-hot putter, but the American claims that has been his Achilles heel so far this season. He said: “I've got a lot of work to do with the putter, it's as simple as that. Everything else is plenty ready to win.”