EUROPEAN TOUR

Warren back to winning ways at the Austrian Open, the first in six years

By Nitanti Alur

This was Marc Warren’s first win since the 2014 Made in Denmark. Warren’s win makes this the 140th win on the European Tour by a Scottish Golfer. 

Lone Irishman, Gavin Moynihan started his fourth round brilliantly with a birdie on the first and consecutive birdies on the 3rd, 4th and 5th. He dropped shots on the 8th and 9th to finish his front nine on two under. The 25 year old had a birdie on the par 4, 12th but unfortunately dropped a shot on the par 3, 14th and then parred his way home to finish two under for the day, leaving him on one over for the tournament. 

The 2012, Irish Amateur Champion, who lifted his first European Tour title as part of Team Ireland at the 2018 GolfSixes after defeating France along with teammate Paul Dunne. Moynihan who has a stroke average of 71.25, climbed seven places and is currently tied 55th in the Austrian Open.

The 39 year old, Marc Warren had a very uneven round, filled with birdies and bogeys. He started his front nine with a birdie on the par 5, 1st but dropped a shot on the 3rd and then made an incredible putt to birdie the par 5, 4th. He finished his front nine with a bogey and birdie on his last two holes. The Scotsman started his back nine with a birdie on the 10th, followed by bogeys on the 11th and 12th. He made a great recovery and landed two birdies over his last four holes, to take home the title by one shot. 

It was a great battle with the 31 year old Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, who eagled the 1st. The two shared the lead into the home stretch where Marc Warren’s 17th hole birdie made all the difference. “2014 was the last time I’ve won, what’s happened on the golf course in the years since then, I’ve played very poorly. The break has been unfortunate for everyone but it came at a good time for me, spending some time at home and trying to get my game ready to play golf.”

“It was nice to have such a long break with the family. The last few weeks I’ve been able to get some good work done and get ready to play golf. Came out of it pretty refreshed. Carrying my bag this week probably helped tone it down a little, just going out and playing and seeing what happens. The result couldn’t have been any better.”

“It’s been different (playing without a caddie), the first time since 2005 – so 15 years. Hopefully, this is the one and only time, no matter what I say, I do enjoy the caddie’s company. Especially on days like yesterday. Last night I had a few nice texts from some of the caddies who are good friends, I didn’t say it, but I was thinking I could have done with one of them yesterday, it was brutal. At times like that you appreciate what a great job they do. I’m looking forward to getting a caddie on the bag again.”

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Photo by Golffile Marc Warren with the Austrian Open trophy 

“I was and wasn’t (watching the leaderboard). In my head the tournament doesn’t start until the back nine. A lot can happen on the front nine here, there’s a lot of water about. It was tough, the wind was swirling. Sebastian got off to a great start, made three at the first. He started ten under, but I thought he started 11. I had him one shot better than he was. When we got to the last five or six, seeing how tight it was, I was just trying to commit as much as possible to the shots.”

It was the par 5, 15th that turned the tie for the Scot, as it has been his best hole of the week. With a birdie on day one, an eagle on day two and birdies on day 3 and 4. “The 15th has been my key hole all week and to have played it in five-under over the four days has been a big key. I was just one-under for the round in the rain on Saturday in coming to 15th and managed a birdie that got me to a share of the lead, and it was pivotal again today.”

“Around the turn I hit a couple of great shots on nine and ten, made two birdies. Hit a really good iron shot on 11, but the wind didn’t move it and I made bogey. I felt like that set me back a little bit, but I holed a good birdie putt on 15 and then a good putt on 17 that was really steep downhill from about 15 feet. I was trying to make sure I didn’t run it past, I tried to get the pace right and fortunately, it went right in the middle.”

“It’s massive. Going from a few hours ago I didn’t have full status, now to be in a winner’s category and plan the year a little bit is good. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, trying to hit one shape all the time and when I do play try and do that and try not to mess about too much.”

German Marcel Schneider had just two birdies on his front nine. It was his back nine which put him into contention for the win. The 2017 Swiss Challenge winner, had another two birdies and just the one bogey, holding the clubhouse lead on 12 under when Warren lined up on the 18th tee. “I was practising hard during the ‘off-season’, it’s nice that it has showed up so quickly. So I’m quite happy with the result.”

“There were a few bad shots here and there, in general I’m really happy. It helps to get the confidence going. I’m looking forward to next week. I like the course.” The German added. 

34 year old Wil Besseling, was the surprise player of the day who climbed a magnificent sixteen places to finish third at the Austrian Open. His front nine set it off for the Dutchman, starting with three birdies on the first four holes. He dropped an unfortunate shot on the par 3, 6th but got back into the game with three consecutive birdies on the 7th, 8th and 9th. His back nine was consistent with pars on each hole with the one birdie on the par 3, 12th.  He had his best performance on the par 5, 4th hole, birdieing it every round of the tournament. 

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 Photo by Golffile Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez

Spaniard Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez was still in contention for the title after trailing by one on the 17th. The final hole proved to be a struggle for him as his tee shot hit the water. He double bogeyed the hole to finish ten under and land in a 4th place tie. Craig Howie did not have the best round with just three birdies. Fellow Scotsman Conner Syme had a mixed round filled with birdies and bogeys, to finish the tournament on ten under. All three are tied along with Darius Van Driel from the Netherlands. 

The season continues in Austria with the dual-ranked Euram Bank Open at GC Adamstal, followed by the Betfred British Masters at Close House, the first of the new six-event UK Swing.

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