Wiesberger Puts Injury Nightmare Behind Him With Victory in Denmark
Bernd Wiesberger put his injury nightmare behind him when he secured his fifth European Tour title by winning the Made in Denmark after a thrilling battle with Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre. The Austrian started the day a shot clear of his playing partner at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort and the pair went at it hammer and tongs, and were level after 15 holes.
Wiesberger hit a wonderful tee shot to birdie the par three 16th and, with MacIntyre going out of bounds off the 17th tee, the 33-year-old took a two shot lead up the 18th. The drama still wasn’t over, however, with Wiesberger finding a hazard off the tee. But he held on, signed for a 66 and a 14 under par total, and a one shot victory over the Scot. Frenchman Romain Langasque carded a 66 to finish at 11 under, two shots clear of Ireland's Paul Dunne, Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal, English pair Chris Paisley and Oliver Wilson, and German Max Schmitt.
Wiesberger was out for seven months last year due to a wrist injury but is now back in the winner's circle in his 13th event since making his comeback on the 2019 Race to Dubai.
"I didn't expect it all, I had a rough year last year. Winning is never easy," he said. "It's up there. Thinking about what was going on in the last year. I had so many great people helping me and getting me back to where I am right now. I've had so much support, it's been amazing, and I'm proud to pay it back that way. I'm so thankful to so many people who have been there for me in the last year.
"It's been such a great week here, I've enjoyed myself so much. I've loved the way I've started playing."
For MacIntyre, it is a second consecutive runner up finish in just his 15th European Tour event. Wiesberger started the day a shot clear and when he put an approach to 10 feet at the first and holed from 25 feet on the third, he was three clear. A double bogey at the fourth cost him a double bogey and the lead as MacIntyre put his second to five feet.
MacIntyre played the par five fifth in textbook fashion and Wiesberger got up and down brilliantly from the long grass as the duo edged ahead. Wiesberger's recovery from his double-bogey was completed at the sixth hole when his tee shot finished six feet from the hole to set up a second consecutive birdie but an excellent approach to the seventh put MacIntyre back in a tie.
The leaders both birdied the eighth and Wiesberger moved two clear on the 11th when he dramatically holed a pitch from 66 yards for an eagle on the par five. There was a two-shot swing on the 13th as Wiesberger surrendered a stroke after a poor bunker shot and MacIntyre holed from 12 feet to share the lead again.
MacIntyre narrowly missed an eagle putt on the driveable 14th while Wiesberger had to get up and down but they both made birdies. When the pair reached the par-three 16th, Wiesberger left himself a short putt and moved ahead again. MacIntyre sent his tee shot a long way left on the 17th for a bogey before Wiesberger returned the favour after going right off the last. Langasque birdied the fifth and 10th and, while he dropped a shot on the 11th, he bounced back with birdies on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 17th.
Paisley matched the lowest round of the week with a 65 to sit in the group a shot ahead of Schwab, Alejandro Cañizares and Matthew Southgate.
Kevin Na won the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial, firing a final round of 66 for a 13-under-par total and a four-shot victory. It is a course that Na loves - her shot a 61 here last year and a 62 in the second round this time. “I think a lot of my draws work out here,” said Na, who moved to 27th in the FedExCup standings. "It’s about how good you can hit it with the irons and how well you can putt. I’m a pretty good player fairway in.”
He hit 14 of 18 greens in the final round and putted superbly. Starting the day with a two-stroke lead, Na birdied three of his first six holes – including a 33-foot putt at the fourth -- then bounced back from his first bogey with another birdie from 20 feet at the par-3 eighth. Nobody came close to catching him and only Russell Knox, with a 65, scored better. “It was a well-deserved win for Kevin this week,” said Tony Finau, his closest pursuer at nine under.
When Na won The Greenbrier last season it was his first victory in 158 starts and he admitted that he began to wonder if he would ever taste success again. “I feel like this week was the next chance at a win, next time I legitimately could contend – and I won,” Na said. “I felt so much more comfortable. Had so much more confidence. I think me winning Greenbrier last year has obviously taken a lot of pressure off. There is always pressure, but it’s taken a lot of the load off, weight off my shoulders. I think it helped me today.”
Until this week, 2019 had not gone all that smoothly. A finger injury forced him to withdraw from the Sentry Tournament of Champions and sidelined him for a month. A neck injury at Valspar also slowed him down. Then there are courses that simply don’t serve him well, like last week at Bethpage Black when he failed to make the cut.
But Colonial is a special place for him. Just before starting his round on Sunday, he said that he looked at the Wall of Champions next to the first tee and noted the engraved name of last year’s winner, Justin Rose. Then he looked at the empty spot just below it. “In my head, I engraved my name in it,” Na said.
It wasn’t quite the day that Jordan Spieth had hoped for. He went into the final round two behind Na but laboured to a 72 and finished eighth, a full eight shots behind Na. Remarkably, it was his best performance of the season on the regular tour - following his third place at the PGA Championship - as he continues to look for his first win since the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
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