Magical Putting Secures Dutch Open Win For Victor Perez
YOU can talk all you like about 350-yard drives that split the middle of fairways, but if you can’t putt nobody is likely to remember anything you do from the tee.
Just ask Victor Perez, who ended a three-year victory drought by holing a series of incredible putts to defeat Ryan Fox in a play-off and win the Dutch Open.
The Frenchman entered the day at Bernardus Golf in a share of the lead but was three shots back stood on the 17th tee as Fox looked to be cruising towards victory.
A double-bogey on the last from the Kiwi saw him sign for a 68 and leave the door ajar, however, and Perez birdied the penultimate hole to head down the par-five 18th back in a share of the lead.
The 29-year-old missed a six-footer on the last to win in regulation but made his putt to stay at 13 under after a 69. It meant extra holes for the third time in five tournaments.
A 20-footer kept him in it as both men made a birdie on the first trip back up the 18th and after a pair of pars at the second attempt, Perez made another lengthy putt for a gain.
But he was not done there, holing from over 40 feet at the 17th on the fourth play-off hole to seal victory with a birdie.
"There was a fair amount of fortune, I've got to be honest with myself, holing out those long putts in the play-off," he said.
"I just tried to focus on me all day, that's all I can do, is try to keep a champion mindset and hit good shot after good shot.
"The chips were going to fall where they were going to fall, it's almost impossible to predict what is going to happen in golf: guys come out of nowhere and win tournaments and guys take huge leads. You just have to focus on you and not look at the board and I was just fortunate to fall on the right side today."
Perez also earns himself a spot at The 150th Open Championship this summer alongside Fox and Pole Adrian Meronk, with the top three players in the top ten not exempt heading to St Andrews.
Meronk finished a shot out of the play-off after a 68, a score matched by German Marcel Schneider who finished at 11 under.
Swede Sebastian Soderberg and England's Matt Wallace were at ten under, two shots ahead of another Swede in Alexander Björk and Portugal's Ricardo Gouveia.
Since winning his maiden DP World Tour title at the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Perez has finished second in three Rolex Series events and in the top-five at two World Golf Championships.
This second victory moves him to 24th on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex and could move him back into the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
THE best two young golfers on the planet went head to head at Colonial. Sam Burns was looking for his third victory of the season while world number one Scottie Scheffler was aiming for his fifth.
In the end, it was Burns who came out on top at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He shot a five-under-par 65 for a 72-hole total of 271 and then had to wait to see if anybody could catch him.
And the only man who could was Masters champion Scheffler. But it needed a playoff to separate them.
At the first extra hole, the 18th, Burns holed a 38-foot putt from the fringe behind the green that veered right and fell on its last revolution. Scheffler had a putt of 37 feet and missed.
“I’m pretty exhausted,” Burns said. “Mentally I was prepared to go as long as it took. I don't know if I could have done it physically. But mentally I was ready. I think we did a really good job of being ready.”
Burns, 25, started the final round in a tie for 17th place. He said he never looked at a leaderboard. He was seven shots behind Scheffler when he hit his first shot.
“Who would have ever thought that you’d have a chance seven back?” Burns said.
He went out in 30. He made one birdie and one bogey on the back nine. He posted one of 12 scores in the 60s.
Scheffler, who held a two-shot lead after three rounds, wasn’t at his best as he ground out the pars and holed a series of terrific par putts. Scott Stallings and Brendon Todd started the round right behind him but both of them struggled too..
Harold Varner was in contention after nine holes but snagged home in 45 to go from a share of the lead to 27th place after a 78.
Scheffler shot 72. Todd shot 71. Stallings shot 73. The few players who did manage Colonial at par or better started the round too far from the lead.
“I gave myself a lot of looks,” said Scheffler. “But I just didn’t have it today.”
“It’s just a really hard golf course and a lot of wind,” Burns said.
He picked up 500 FedExCup points and is second in the standings, behind Scheffler.
Of one thing you can be sure - there are going to be many, many more battles between these two in the years that lie ahead. We could be watching the start of a rivalry for the ages.
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