Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell is celebrating after securing his best European Tour finish at the inaugural Scottish Championship near St. Andrews.
Caldwell, 36, fought back from two early final round bogeys to then grab four birdies in a two-under par 70 for a superb share of seventh place on the Torrance course at the Fairmont Resort.
The result, in Caldwell’s 31st European Tour event, is one place higher than his share of eighth last July in the BetFred British Masters, the opening event since the lifting of the lockdown.
“It’s my best Tour finish, yes. It’s great,” he said.
“The goal at the start of the year was to break into that top 10 and I’ve done that twice now.
“So now it’s readjust the goals so top-fives are next and we will see where we go from there.
“I’ve been playing nice in spells and had a couple of good first and second rounds and given myself some good chances and not done much over the weekends and gone the other way. So I did a bit of thinking about how I was approaching the weekends and it has obviously worked.”
Caldwell’s effort has seen him jump 24 places to 122nd on the Race to Dubai with season earnings of Euro105,222 in prize money.
“I have been playing solid, driving it reasonably well,” he added.
“I didn’t have my best over the weekend but I just hung in there and I putted nicely. That takes the pressure off the long game when you know you are putting nicely.
“It was a good week to come back after a few weeks off after the DDF Irish Open at Galgorm. I played a few times at RCD and putting on good links greens helped, as well.”
European Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington rounded off his Scottish campaign with six birdies, including a gem at the last, in a closing four-under par 68 and a share of 14th place at 12-under par.
“To birdie the last and finish inside the top-20 caps a good week,” he said.
“It’s been a good week. My chipping was really off all week. It has been for the four weeks actually. I drove the ball great for the four weeks, or at least the last three anyway and my iron play picked up this week. I hit lots of nice iron shots.
“My chipping was terrible, my wedge play was terrible and I see a lot of good in my putting so I couldn’t be in a happier place with my game.”
Harrington is entered to tee-up in next fortnight’s PGA Tour $4m Bermuda Championship but seems uncertain if he likes the thought of a long-distance flight in these continuing uncertain times.
“I don’t know when I am going to play next but I am in a good place,” he said.
“I am entered in Bermuda in a week’s time but I just can’t get my head around flying but that’s the intention to play a few on the US tour.”
At the head of affairs, Spaniard Adrian Otaegui stormed to a four-shot success.
Otaegui, 27, brilliantly muscled his way from four shots back to win with a nine-under par 63 and a 23-under par victory tally.
Overall, Otaegui grabbed 29 birdies and dropped just six strokes for the week to become only the third Spaniard after Seve Ballesteros (1984 Open Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews), and good friend Rafa Cabrera-Bello (2018 Scottish Open at Dundonald Links) to win on Scottish soil.
“Everything was on my side and I feel very lucky and very proud to have won here in Scotland, the Home of Golf,” he said.
“I am also now in very good company with Seve probably being one of the best golfers I have seen and Rafa who is a great friend of mine. I know Rafa won the Scottish Open two years ago so I am clearly in great company.
“I feel so happy to be able to win in Scotland and especially here in the town of St. Andrews, the Home of Golf, and it really means a lot to me.”
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