-courtesy European Tour
A brilliant late birdie burst helped Rickie Fowler secure his first European Tour victory in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
For much of the day, Fowler struggled to find his rhythm in the strong winds and cold temperatures at Gullane Golf Club, but rose magnificently to the occasion late on with three birdies in his final four holes – including a tap-in at the last courtesy of a wonderful wedge shot.
A round of 68 for a 12 under par aggregate total saw him leapfrog compatriot Matt Kuchar, who had previously set the clubhouse target on 11 under par after he too signed for a 68.
Raphaël Jacquelin, playing alongside overnight leader Daniel Brooks in the last group, needed an eagle on the 72nd hole to force a play-off, and the Frenchman almost pulled off the unlikely feat when his approach stopped within a foot of the cup.
That tap-in birdie set the seal on a level par round of 70, and his tied runner-up finish earned Jacquelin a place in next week’s Open Championship.
Brooks struggled in a round of 73, but the Englishman took ample consolation from a place at St Andrews along with Sweden’s Rickard Karlberg, who closed with a superb 64 to claim the third and final Open Championship berth.
Karlberg’s score was matched by Marc Warren, who finished as the leading home player on ten under par.
“I felt really good coming down the stretch. It was nice to be back in contention again, and I’m excited about where the game is at. I have a few things we need to straighten out before Thursday, but I’m very excited about next week now.
“Probably the only thing that would be more special than this would be winning next week. But winning on a links golf course in Scotland, the Home of Golf, is a special week. I beat some pretty good players out there today. The guys were on top of their games. I didn’t see many scores being under par with the way the wind was blowing, so it was going to be a tough test of golf. I’m definitely proud of how I finished.”
“I played great, and I’m very happy with my game. As I said yesterday, the way I played the last three months was not very good, and not very fun. So I’m very pleased with second place, even if I was hoping to win the trophy. It was a tough day today at the office, a lot of wind and it’s always difficult to play in the last group and try to win. I tried my best, and did pretty well in the end. I tried to hole that last shot, and it was almost in. I gave everything, so I couldn’t have asked for any more. And to qualify for The Open is the cherry on the top of the cake.”
With This Win
• His first European Tour International Schedule victory in his 45th appearance on the Tour event.
• Could move as high as fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking from his current position of ninth.
• This victory beats his previous best European Tour performances of tied second in the 2011 WGC–Bridgestone Invitational, the 2014 US Open Championship and The 2014 Open Championship.