The Island’s Paul McBride fired the round of the day – a six-under par 65 – to cut through the field on the final day and claim a top-10 finish at the Alps season opener.
The Dubliner tied ninth at the Acaya Open after racing to eight birdies on the final day, his three-under par tournament total good enough for a share of ninth in an incredible comeback after slumping to a 76 on the opening day. The former minor inter-county hurler led home Ireland’s challenge with Naas professional Jonathan Yates signing off with successive rounds of 70 for a share of 34th at plus-four.
It was a thrilling day for the final round where the young Scottish player, Ryan Lumsden fired a 66 to pip joint runners-up, Matteo Manassero from Italy, and Theo Brizard from France by a single stroke, but the battle went right down to the line. Lumsden had a bogey-free round with five birdies, but as he headed into the clubhouse, his victory was not assured with two more flights to come in.
“My win was a little unexpected as I was looking back and seeing great players playing behind,” said Lumsden. “I played solid today. I was quite tidy, but I didn’t think I’d made quite enough birdies. I had a short putt on 18 for birdie, but it just slid by the edge so when that one missed, I thought it might be a struggle. But I definitely had a bit of luck on my side as well”.
The win was even more satisfying as Lumsden has had a tough winter going through tonsilitis, Covid-19 and surgery which meant he only got back to his game recently:
“I got back into golf about a month ago. I flew out to America to train and play a few qualifiers. It was not pretty for that first week as the balls were going everywhere when I hit them but now it feels good as I’ve worked really hard for the last month to get back to a functional level. It feels nice to have that rewarded so quickly and have 2021 get off to a good start.”
Indeed, all eyes were riveted on two flights behind Lumsden and the head-to-head between yesterday’s leader Matteo Manassero and the French amateur Theo Brizard. Teeing off with Manassero on -9 and Brizard on -5, they both started with a birdie on the par 5 dogleg. However, at the end of the first nine, a dazzling performance by Brizard with a total of seven birdies, a 29 (-7) to open put him at -12. As they headed to the tenth, Manassero was trailing by one shot at -11 after 3 birdies and a bogey.
At this stage, Lumsden, two holes ahead was at -8. Back to even-stevens at -11 on the tenth with par for Manassero and bogey for Brizard. The eleventh posed problems for both players, with a bogey for Manassero (-10) and double bogey for Brizard (-9).
When the pair reached the seventeenth, Lumsden was in the clubhouse with his -9 after a final birdie on the sixteenth. Brizard had clocked up 2twomore bogeys and one birdie to sit at -8 and finished with a par. Manassero got to the eighteenth green on -9 after two bogeys and a birdie and a play-off looked to be in the offing. The final putt proved to be elusive, and bogey left him tied for second place with Brizard.
Lumsden’s win puts him at the top of the Alps Tour Order of Merit 2021 with the amateur Theo Brizard in second place. And the season continues rapidly with the MIRA Live the Soul Open back at the Acaya Golf Resort from March 28th-30th. Players will stay on-site, get in some practice and be ready for another tournament on Sunday with a field of 122.
Final Results: click here