Sandeep Grewal produced a stunning round of 67 to force a play-off with Lloyd Saltman in The PartyPoker.com International Open at Fairmont St Andrews, beating the Scotsman on the second play-off hole.
After the first two rounds Grewal (ISM) was ten shots off the lead at one over par and never in the frame for victory, but he kicked off with birdies on the first and third holes then really put his foot down on the back nine, with an eagle on the ninth followed by three straight birdies. A double bogey on the 14th checked his progress, but he was in the clubhouse at four under after shooting the only under par round of the day in incredibly high winds.
“It was just one of those days for me,” said the 27 year-old. “On the first I pulled my tee shot, got it back on track then holed a seven iron from 120 yards, and on the ninth I drove well and pitched-in another seven iron for an eagle.”
Grewal began the day in 73rd spot on the Order of Merit before the tournament began and knew the pressure was on to climb that list in order to get into the Tour Championship: “My aim was for top 60 and even after the eagle and the three birdies I was just thinking ‘just stay solid and I could get a top five place,’ said the Wirral man. “I was playing well and just focusing on that rather than thinking that conditions were tough and that I might be in contention with the rest of the guys still having plenty of holes to play. Even after my double bogey, when I saw that I was just one behind, I didn’t get over-excited as I was just in the zone and forgot about everything else.”
Saltman (Aegon) recorded a final round 75 to join Grewal in a play-off, and the Liverpudlian got the better of the Scotsman on the second trip down 18 – reward for his hard work pre-season.
“On the first hole I sunk an eight-footer to keep the thing going and then I had a fifteen-footer first and holed it for par and Lloyd had a ten-footer and lipped out,” said Grewal, who had earned just £1331 before collecting the £10,000 winner’s cheque. “I just approached it as Matchplay and went for it, and I got that bit of luck but I think my round deserved it”
“Last year was terrible for me but I put in a lot of work over the winter and I’ve been playing very nicely, even though my scores this year don’t reflect it,” he said, referring to near misses at Faithlegg and Five Lakes.
Overnight leader Busby’s (The Shropshire) round began in the toughest way with two bogeys in his opening two holes but he steadied the ship somewhat with four pars and a birdie through the seventh. But it was all downhill from there for the man in eighth spot on the Order of Merit before the event began as he picked up three bogeys from the eighth, and although he stopped the rot with a birdie at the 13th he dropped three more shots on the way to a round of 78, with two bogeys in his final two holes ultimately costing him the title.
Busby’s closest challenger going into the final round was Daniel Brooks (Mill Hill) and like his playing partner, he was never going to recover from a disastrous start with a triple-bogey seven at the first. Brooks – who is in third spot in the money list – grabbed one stroke back at the third but dropped three more shots on the back nine to shoot 67 and join Busby in a tie for third spot.
Walker Cup player Wallace Booth finished in fifth place, carding a six over par 78 to finish at one under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of trio Nick McCarthy (Moortown), Nicky Harris (Whitefield GC) and Craig Lee who finished on level par for the tournament.
Ryder Cup star Ronan Rafferty finished in a three-way tie for ninth spot at two over par, starting the final round three under and carding a final round of 77. Paul Dwyer’s (Clitheroe) level final round is worth much more in the conditions and he joins Rafferty and Michael Collins (Mallow Golf Range) in ninth spot.
Aside from the title and prize money, places in the top 60 and places on the Tour Championship were up for grabs, with Brendon McCarroll finishing in 60th spot after an =28th finish in Scotland and 61st man Gareth Davies ruing missing the cut at Fairmont St Andrews.
To view the full Leaderboard from The PartyPoker.com International Open and the Order of Merit standings ahead of the Tour Championship, click on the Score Updates and Order of Merit links on the homepage.
Date Posted: 09/10/09