Paul Casey earned his first European Tour title in five years at the Porsche European Open on Sunday as two players broke the course record
Paul Casey posted a final round 66 to claim a one stroke victory during a dramatic final round at the Porsche European Open on Sunday that saw both Bernd Wiesberger and Romain Wattel break the course record with eight-under 64s.
Casey, who began the day one behind Robert MacIntyre and Bernd Ritthammer, found himself in a four-way tie at the top with just three holes left at Green Eagle Golf Course but birdied two of his last three holes – which included rolling in 35 foot birdie at the 16th – to top the congested leaderboard on 14-under-par.
“I get emotional at every victory but this year has been so fantastic,” said Casey.
“This is an incredibly prestigious trophy that has a lot of history to it on the European Tour so I’m over the moon.
“I’m happy to be the Porsche European Open champion.”
It was the 42-year-old’s first victory since the KLM Open in 2014, and he dedicated his 14th European Tour title to the late Gordon Brand Jnr – a former champion here – whose funeral is on Monday.
“Some legends have won this trophy, one of which I’d like to highlight. It’s his funeral tomorrow, so rest in peace Gordon Brand Jnr, we love you.”
Wiesberger, who sits second on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex following two wins this season, produced a stellar Sunday performance which lifted him in contention to pick up another European Tour title.
It could be forgiven to write off the 33-year-old after he bogeyed the second hole to drop to three under par, six shots behind overnight leaders Robert MacIntyre and Bernd Ritthammer.
But the Austrian only looked up as he made a charge towards the top of the leaderboard.
A birdie at the fourth brought him back to level par for the round but he rolled in four in a row from the eighth to move to eight under and become a serious contender for the title.
MacIntyre made only one birdie during the third round but he matched that tally at the opening hole when he dialled in his approach to six feet to nudge ahead on his own at ten under.
The Scot parred the next four but was desperately unlucky not to birdie each hole – including a shoehorn at the fifth – however, it was Ritthammer who joined him at the top with a gain from six feet at the fifth.
Casey, who started the day one behind, quickly joined the top of the leaderboard with Ritthammer and MacIntyre after birdies on the second and sixth holes, and moved into the outright lead with another gain at the eighth.
He was quickly joined by MacIntyre once more as the Scot made a birdie of his own at the seventh to get to 11-under, and the 23-year-old regained the lead with another birdie on the ninth as playing partner Ritthammer moved to within one.
Meanwhile, Bernd Wiesberger carded seven birdies in eight holes between the eighth to 15th get to 11-under, narrowly missing an eagle putt to join the leaders.
MacIntyre recovered from a wild tee shot on the 11th to save par but dropped his first shot of the day at the next, while Casey’s own birdie at the 12th moved him in to solo lead at 12-under-par.
Wiesberger soon set the clubhouse target at 12-under thanks to a final hole birdie, while Romain Wattel eagled the last to get to -11 as both players signed for impressive 64s.
A few moments later, MacIntyre joined both Wiesberger and Casey at the top with a birdie at the 14th, and Ritthammer soon joined them with birdies at both 13 and 15.
With just three holes to play the World No.17 inched ahead once more with his long range putt for birdie at the 16th, but was soon joined by Ritthammer at 13-under after his own gain at the same hole.
Casey then added another birdie on the 17th to stay one shot clear, and after a final hole par both Ritthammer and MacIntyre needed to make a birdie and eagle respectively to force a playoff.
MacIntytre’s eagle attempt slid by the hole, and Ritthammer’s birdie try came up just short, leaving the duo tied for second place at 13-under with Austrian Matthias Schwab, who moved in to second place with an eagle at the final hole.
Wiesberger finished in solo fifth at 12 under, while playing partner Wattel was one shot further back in sixth and Italian Guido Migliozzi and Pablo Larrazábal at ten under.