Edfors confirms growing status with British Masters win
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2006 British Masters | Wrap | 15 May 2006
Johan Edfors today provided further proof of the elevation in status he achieved earlier in the season when winning the TCL Classic, by defeating a strong European Tour field to win the Quinn Direct British Masters the De Vere Belfry.
The 30-year-old Swede, who is in just his second full season on the European Tour, had the luxury of being able to bogey the first and last holes today and yet still win by a shot over Scot, Stephen Gallagher, Englishman Gary Emerson and very much resurgent Swede, Jarmo Sandelin.
Paul Casey appeared to be the one to beat all week, having won around the Belfry three years ago and making such a good start to the tournament with opening rounds of 67, 66 and 70 to lead by two over Michael Campbell heading into the final round. When he birdied the fifth hole it appeared not to be a matter of if he would win but by how far. Then all of a sudden things turned nasty for the 28-year-old.
Casey dropped four shots in three holes around the turn and from being in control of the tournament, he was then struggling to stay in touch. The momentum had turned and the runs were coming from those further back. Michael Campbell also had started the last round well with an early birdie but he too would struggle around the turn and perhaps his lack of recent tournament play was catching up with him.
Edfors was rock solid in between the bookend bogeys he had to start and finish his round and by the time he reached the 18th he knew exactly what he needed to do to win. Even a bogey at the last would mean that Campbell and Casey would need to birdie to tie but instead of that they both bogeyed the hole and slipped back to share fifth.
“It feels great,” Edfors told European Tour radio. “This is by far the biggest achievement in my golfing career especially around here and against this field.”
Edfors races into Ryder Cup calculations which, at the start of the year, would likely have been the last thing he would have been thinking.
Campbell expressed his satisfaction at his performance despite a last round disappointment. “After the month or so off I am happy,” he said. It also proves that Campbell has a comfort zone playing in Europe rather than in the US where he struggled earlier this season. That despite his US Open victory.
Casey was philosophical about the day and talked about a couple of bad breaks he got around during his disastrous stretch of holes around the turn.
“Mistakes are going to happen as The Belfry is one of those golf courses where danger is lurking, but the ball was just not coming off the putter very well today and that was probably the most frustrating thing out there. It was a battling day. I hung in there as good as I could and it wasn’t good enough unfortunately.”
For joint runner up, Jarmo Sandelin, his dramatic return to form of late continues after several seasons playing well below his capabilities. For Emerson this is a result that turns around a rather uneventful year to date and for Gallagher, whose earnings until this week in 2006 were around the €20,000 mark, the €195,000 he earned here is clearly a huge boost.
The best of the other Australians were Richard Green 16th, David Bransdon and Peter O’Malley 22nd, Wade Ormsby 27th and Marcus Fraser 44th.
The European Tour now heads to Ireland for the Nissan Irish Open.