Emotional Andy Sullivan Breaks European Tour Scoring Record
AN EMOTIONAL Andy Sullivan won his first tournament for five years - and he did so in style, claiming the English Championship at Hanbury Manor by an astonishing seven shots as he recorded a 72-hole total of 257, 27 under par. It is the lowest winning aggregate total in European Tour history.
Sullivan, 34, led by five shots going into the final round, and on a glorious day he saw his lead cut to three at the turn by Spain's Adrian Otaegui. But he then recorded four birdies on the back nine to hold off Otaegui. Denmark's teenage sensation Rasmus Hojgaard finished third on 19 under.
It is Sullivan's first win on the European Tour since 2015. His form in 2015 saw him finish in Europe's top 10 and secure a debut in the 2016 Ryder Cup, which the United States won at Hazeltine.
"It’s frustrating that I didn’t kick on from 2015 but it’s just one of those things," he said. "It feels like the weight of the world is lifted off my shoulders that I’m back in the winner’s circle. I’m just proud of myself to come back and get that win in the manner I did.
"It didn’t feel like a seven shot lead out there. I got on 12 and saw that Adrian was breathing down my neck, and it was just nice that I could keep pressing on with the putter there – it just got hot."
Waiting for him by the 18th green was a laptop so he could speak with his family - and the tears started to flow.
“It was just the people that have missed this win, my brother-in-law was only 24 and he was taken from us so it’s quite emotional for him not to witness it,” Sullivan said. "It means quite a lot for me to do it for him today, and a good friend of mine has passed as well.
"So it means a lot to do that for them and it’s nice for my family, to win for my little boy who is only two years old, it’s just nice for him to see Daddy being successful, he hasn’t quite seen that yet. Also for me, I can’t remember too much about my emotions in the first three wins but I was fighting the tears back today down the last three holes.
"I’m proud of myself of what I’ve achieved this week and how I’ve gone about my business, I’m just really proud of myself."
This victory sees Sullivan has overtake Sam Horsfield at the top of the UK Swing Order of Merit.
Sullivan began the UK Swing with a tied fourth finish at the Betfred British Masters and ended the week tied 41st at the Hero Open before assuming with his first win on Tour since the 2015 Portugal Masters.
He holds a narrow lead of 28.76 points over Hojgaard, who is the only player to record three consecutive top 10s in the first three weeks of the UK Swing.
Behind Højgaard is Hero Open winner Horsfield, followed by British Masters champion Renato Paratore, and Otaegui. Thomas Detry, Justin Harding, Chris Paisley, Alexander Bjork and Robert Rock make up the rest of the current top 10.
With three events left in the UK Swing there is still plenty to play for, including the chance to qualify for the U.S. Open. The USGA have confirmed that the top 10 aggregrate points earners in the mini Order of Merit that are not otherwise exempt at the conclusion of the fifth event – the Wales Open at Celtic Manor - will be exempt for the rescheduled U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club on September 17-20.
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