Date: July 07, 2008

Fisher buries history in Europe

Ross Fisher overcame not just one, but two nightmare memories to win the European Open in inspired fashion at a wet and windy London Club on Sunday. The 27-year-old Englishman, who began the tournament with a course-record 63 playing the Kent layout &aposblind&apos, completed a majestic seven-stroke win by holing a bunker shot on the last. That summed up the week, one that began with him qualifying for the British Open and contemplating pulling out of the European Tour event because of tiredness. Sergio Garcia thought a closing 68 might give him a chance given the conditions. He then produced a 66 he called one of the top-five rounds of his career and &aposdefinitely the best putting round I&aposve ever had&apos. Yet Garcia would have had to shoot an unprecedented 59 just for a play-off. Fisher, three ahead of closest challenger Graeme McDowell and nine clear of Garcia overnight, finished with a 68 for a 20-under-par total – and with it moved from 21st in the Ryder Cup standings to 11th. “Just a great week,” he said. “I felt really calm all day, very composed, comfy with my game.” “I got my fair share of luck as well – at the last I was just thinking, &aposTry and put it on the green&apos. I&aposm delighted.” In November, Fisher led the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai by one with one to play and with closest challenger Phil Mickelson in the water on the par-five last, he was odds-on to win. But he chipped over the green into the lake, ran up a double-bogey seven and lost the play-off. Before that, he was joint leader with a round to play in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – his home club – but collapsed to a closing 84. Now he has a second Tour title to his name and having done it in such style against some of the circuit&aposs biggest names, the future can only look bright for the former England amateur international. “They say the second win is harder. I might have made it look easy, but it certainly wasn&apost,” Fisher said. As for the possibility of a Ryder Cup debut, he added: “I&aposd love it, but it&aposs still a long way off.” Garcia, told of Rafael Nadal&aposs progress at Wimbledon as he went round, had just 21 putts and given that that was the area of his game holding him back for so long, he could well deserve to go into the British Open as favourite. Last year, of course, he would have taken the Claret Jug last year with a closing par, but bogeyed and lost the play-off to Harrington. It was a slow week for the Australasian challengers, with Kiwi Mark Brown finishing in a tie for 27th on even-par 288 and Aussie left-hander Richard Green nine strokes back in equal 65th after a disastrous final-round 83. Final Round Scores from The European Open, England -20: Ross Fisher 63 68 69 68 -13: Sergio Garcia 71 64 74 66 -12: Graeme McDowell 65 67 71 73 -11: David Frost 65 72 69 71 -7: Soren Hansen 69 67 72 73 -6: Peter Hanson 68 71 71 72, Robert Karlsson 74 66 73 69 -5: Markus Brier 71 71 71 70, Stephen Gallacher 70 68 71 74 -4: Sion E Bebb 74 67 71 72, Jamie Donaldson 73 70 73 68, Rory McIlroy 67 71 72 74, Jeev Mikha Singh 68 72 69 75 Also: E: Mark Brown (New Zealand) 75 68 72 73 +9: Richard Green (Australia) 73 69 72 83