Willett Ends Victory Drought
COLOGNE, GERMANY | After 19 top- 10 finishes,
Danny Willett finally claimed his first European
Tour title with a nail-biting play-off victory over
Marcus Fraser on Sunday.
Conditions in Cologne may have been wet
and windy for the final round, but there was
nothing dull about the golf on an absorbing day
at Gut Lärchenhof.
In the end, Willett required a four-hole play-off down the testing 18th to shake off Fraser,
after a final-round 73 left him level with the
former Ballantine’s Championship winner.
“It’s amazing,” said Willett, the former
Walker Cup star. “It was a tough day – it was
brutal with the wind whipping and it was
Overnight leader Willett was caught by
Fraser and home favourite Marcel Siem early in
the day, but responded with a couple of birdies
at the third and fourth as his nearest challeng-
ers struggled around the turn.
But the 24-year-old from
England drifted back towards
the pack with bogeys at the
ninth, 11th and 15th,
and Fraser got his
nose in front with a
birdie at the 16th.
trouble at the
and did well to
rescue a bogey
and set the club-
house target at 11 under.
Willett needed two pars to force a play-off
at that stage, and that appeared unlikely when
he drove down the right at the 18th and the ball
bounced off a cart path and behind a tree.
But the former Alfred Dunhill Links runner-up swung a remarkable long hooked iron onto
the green, and although he left his first putt
from 25 feet well short, he converted a four-footer for par to force extra holes.
Fraser was 15 feet away in three at the first
extra hole but made it to force another trip
down the 18th.
When Willett chipped to five feet and Fraser
left his effort 20 feet short and missed the par
putt it looked like game over, but Willett’s putt
somehow stayed up, and so the players returned to the tee.
Both players converted five-footers at the
third time of asking, and on their fourth visit
Willett almost ran a flop from the rough in for
birdie and Fraser’s 25-foot putt lipped out.
But Fraser missed his return from three
feet, leaving Willett to tap in for victory.
“This is my fourth year on Tour now,” said
Willett. “I’ve had a lot of good finishes, been in
contention a couple of times. To polish it off, it
Although delighted to win, Willett revealed
he didn’t have time at this stage of the season
for any wild celebrations.
“I’m going to get on the first plane I can and
get down to Sunningdale and try to qualify for
The Open Monday,” he continued.
Staff and Wire Reports