Top-five finish for Richie Ramsay as Dale Whitnell lands 'awesome' first win
On a day to remember for Whitnell as the 34-year-old Colchester man landed a maiden title triumph on the main tour, Ramsay maintained his recent encouraging run of form by claiming a share of fifth spot at Ullna Golf & Country Club in Stockholm.
Chalking up a second top-ten finish in third starts after ending up in a tie for seventh in the Soudal Open in Belgium, the four-time tour winner signed off with a 71 for a 14-under-par total, finishing seven shots behind Whitnell, who’d been in the driving seat after he’d spreadeagled the field with a sensational 61 in Friday’s second circuit.
Ramsay’s effort earned him just over £50,000 and lifted the Edinburgh-based Aberdonian to 83rd, jumping up 27 spots, in this season’s Race to Dubai.
Whitnell is up to 17th, a rise of 41 places, in those standings after landing a popular win, with 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie among those to quickly congratulate him on social media.
“It’s awesome,” said Whitnell, who closed with a 70 for a 21-under total, of his three-shot success. “Obviously, Sweden is a great host for a tournament like this. It was great playing with the women.”
Whitnell, who started the day with a four-shot lead, found a few nasty spots from the tee as he faced the biggest test of his 14-year career as professional, but it was job done in start No 106 on the top tour thanks to a brilliant putting display.
The tone was set by a great par save at the third and, though he was starting to look a bit tense when running up a double-bogey 6 at the next, back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth served as timely nerve-settlers.
Helped by a brace of eagles - the first came at the fourth and the second one at the 15th - American Sean Crocker did his best to rain on Whitnell’s parade before watching on a big screen at the 18th green as the champion-elect rolled in a title-clinching 17-foot birdie putt at the penultimate hole.
“It tested me out there,” admitted Florida-based Whitnell, who, in addition to receiving the trophy from Swedish legend and tournament host Annika Sorenstam, picked up a cheque for just under £270,000. “It’s been a long road for me.”
In an event won last year by home player Linn Grant, big-hitting Dutchwoman Anne Van Dam tied for third with Germany’s Yannick Paul on this occasion, when England’s Gabriella Cowley, helped by four eagles in the last two rounds, also finished in the top ten.
Meanwhile, Hutcheon wasted no time in showing why some of his peers had tipped him to be a title contender on the Legends Tour as the Tartan Tour stalwart finished second in the Jersey Legends at Lay Moye.
Twelve months after beating Paul Lawrie in a play-off, Australian Richard Green did the business again, but he was pushed all the way by Hutcheon as the rookie closed with a three-under 69 for an eight-under total - just one short.
On a good day for the Caledonian contingent, Euan McIntosh (68) finished joint-third on six-under, two shots ahead of Gary Orr in fifth.
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