Ireland’s Paul Dunne failed to find top gear during the final day at Monza, slipping back thirteen places on the grid to cross the chequered flag in a tie for 26th at the Italian Open.
The Greystones golfer has been a cool operator in the cockpit of late and shot out of the blocks with a birdie at the par-5 first, but he was stuck behind the safety car thereafter carding nine straight pars before his first and only bogey of the day coming at the 11th.
Clearly irked by his stop-go penalty, Dunne initiated the turbocharger with consecutive birdies following at 14 and 15 as he attempted a late charge on the field, but he had exhausted all his gears, parring his way in for a 69 and a hefty consolation prize of € 57,344.
Graeme McDowell seemed to set off in the wrong tyres this morning as he struggled to get to grips with the slick Monza track.
Three bogeys in his first four holes, he could’ve been forgiven for wanting an early pit-stop, but McDowell has been manufactured better than that and his steel soon shone through.
Three birdies in his next four had him out in 36 and he traded one more drop shot with a birdie on 11 to finish the tournament at three under par and in 65th position. The four laps of Monza would’ve done him good this week.
Yet standing tallest on the podium for the second time in a week was Tyrrell Hatton who sealed his stunning victory with a brilliant birdie at the last to win the Italian Open at Golf Club Milano.
Last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner carded six birdies – including five on the back nine – in a flawless 65 on Sunday to win his first Rolex Series event and now moves to fifth position in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win back-to-back,” he acknowledged after the round. “You know, slightly different circumstances today where I had to come from behind. I’m not sure how far back I was going into the back nine but I knew I needed plenty of birdies and was very fortunate that I holed a few putts coming in.”
It had looked like the tournament would be decided by a play-off, with clubhouse leaders Ross Fisher and Kiradech Aphibarnrat alongside Hatton on 20 under par as he stood at the 18th tee, but the 26 year old, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, calmly rolled in his birdie putt from 15 feet to get to 21 under and clinch the trophy.
“I knew I needed a low score today, and the front nine, it was pretty slow and sort of didn’t really get any momentum.” Added an ecstatic winner. “I was fighting myself, trying to stay patient, and you know, J.B (Jonathan Bell), my caddie, was saying, “Good things will come.” Although I found it hard to believe, I tried to stay patient and in the end, I guess I got my reward.
“Amazing to win one, but to win back-to-back, and defend in two weeks is unbelievable. It gives me a lot of confidence. Obviously winning last week, my game felt really good, and just taking that into this week and playing well again and giving myself another chance was great.
“To win a Rolex Series event is very special. They are new for this season and all the players are looking forward to playing in them. I’m just happy that I could win one of them after a poor showing in them during the summer.
“These are massive events for the European Tour. They get such a good field and are so well supported with the crowd. The crowds were amazing. It’s very special to win one of the big events on the European Tour.”
Fisher, who was also pipped to the post by Hatton in Scotland last week, and Aphibarnrat had to settle for a share of second place, while England’s Matt Wallace finished in fourth on 19 under courtesy of a brilliant chip-in birdie at the 17th with Australian Marcus Fraser a further shot off the pace.
Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood extended his lead at the top of the Rankings with a final round 67 to finish on 17 under alongside home favourite Francesco Molinari, South Africa’s George Coetzee and England’s David Horsey.
Fleetwood’s closest rivals to be crowned Europe’s Number One player for 2017 – World Number Five Jon Rahm and Masters Champion Sergio Garcia – finished tied