Ecstatic Caldwell – “The drinks are on me!”

Bernie McGuire

Jonny Caldwell kisses the trophy after his win during the final round of The Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik and Annika (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Four years after juggling his golf with working part-time behind the counter in a local golf shop, Jonathan Caldwell pulled off the shot of his career to capture a first win at the inaugural Scandinavian Mixed hosted by Annika and Henrik in Sweden.

Caldwell sent his 142-yard penultimate gap wedge shot high in the air with his ball coming to rest to within virtual tap-in distance for a closing birdie and an equal best round of the week – eight-under par 64 – to win by a shot at 18-under par in glorious conditions on the Vallda course to the south of Gothenburg.

It had been an anxious wait for Caldwell as Spain’s Adrian Otaegui needed a birdie at the last to win or par to tie but the Spaniard three-putted the hole for a bogey to virtually hand Caldwell the title. Caldwell, who turned 37 last Friday, captured a maiden Tour title in his 48th start while his win has earned him a two-year Tour exemption and also sees him jump some 250 places to the new World No. 207 slot.

And after being handed the gleaming new trophy by hosts Stenson and Sorenstam, Caldwell was very emotional in singling out his parents for their support during the tougher times in his pro career. That included a stint of four to five years mid last decade working behind the counter at Nevada Bob’s golf shop in Bangor while also competing on the EuroPro Tour.

In contrast to Caldwell’s clear emotion in Sweden , you could hear the roar of delight for miles from those gathered around ‘the box’ at his beloved Clandeboye Golf Club with Caldwell breaking out into a big smile declaring: “The drinks are on me and put them on my tab.”

Caldwell’s win also comes 14-years after he and McIlroy were team-mates on the 2007 GB&I Walker Cup and teamed to play foursomes matches at Royal County Down. However, their career paths have clearly gone off in different directions with McIlroy winning four majors and 24 other events around the globe and Caldwell now with a first Tour win to add to his CV that had boasted two victories on the EuroPro Tour.

“The win is special enough but to be there at the presentation ceremony on the 18th green with Annika and Henrik, absolute icons of the game, it’s just quite unbelievable to be honest,” he said.

Caldwell pocketed a prize cheque for €145,160 to lift him to 43rd on the Race to Dubai money list. And when asked if he had any concern for the bar ‘tab’ he is facing in returning to his beloved Clandeboye club, he laughed in saying: “I don’t care. I don’t know what it’s going to cost me.

“No, everybody at the golf club has massively supported me. They root for me every week when I’m competing. I enjoy everyone at the club.  I have a great time when I’m at home and there at the club so they deserve a few beers for sure.”


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