TROON, SCOTLAND – JULY 16: Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain poses with the trophy following his victory on the 1st play off hole during the final round of the AAM Scottish Open at Dundonald Links Golf Course on July 16, 2017 in Troon, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell might have missed out on a place in The Open for the first time since xxx but there was a silver lining to his cloud when he moved back into the world’s top 100.
The Portrush native carded a disappointing 72 in the final round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open to finish tied 19th on five-under, three strokes outside the top three non-exempt spots for Royal Birkdale which went to runner up Callum Shinkwin, Italy’s Andrea Pavon and England’s Anthony Wall.
McDowell, who has yet to qualify for the US PGA, still moved up three spots to 99th in the world having fallen out of the top 100 for the first time since January 2008 when he missed the cut in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
Pádraig Harrington jumped 35 spots to 134th in the world when he followed his 79 on Saturday with a closing 66 and declared himself to be in a great place mentally heading back to the scene of his second Open win this week after finishing tied fourth, five shots outside the playoff for the title on eight -under par.
“You know, I just didn’t get the breaks yesterday,” Harrington said, explaining his 13-stroke improvement. “I got plenty of them today. That’s the difference in the scoring, that’s all. I holed three nice par putts today, and yesterday, I missed a lot of short ones.
“You know what, it’s not frustrating at this stage. It’s the way the game is. If you play it as long as I do and you don’t get to grips with it like that, you’re going to be struggling.
“So it is what it is. As much as you might want to label it frustrating, I think I got past that ten years ago.”
It was Harrington’s first top 10 finish since he won the Portugal Masters last year and when asked about The Open, he said: “I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to my golf at the moment. That’s the main thing.”
Like McDowell, Paul Dunne had a chance to challenge for one of the spots in The Open but shot a 74 and finished 26th, four shots outside the required number.
The Co Wicklow man still moved up four places to 25th in the Race to Dubai with €654,491 points from 17 starts, picking up another €57,216.
As for the Scottish Open, Rafa Cabrera Bello’s brilliant final round 64 gave him the chance to defeat Callum Shinkwin in a play-off at Dundonald Links.
The Spaniard clinched his third European Tour title – his first in more than five years – and became the fourth Rolex Series winner, with a birdie on the first play-off hole.
Cabrera Bello had started the day four shots behind the leading group of Shinkwin, Ian Poulter and Andrew Dodt, but surged through the field on Sunday, carding eight birdies en route to a course record 64, to sit just one shot behind Shinkwin at 13 under par. He then watched anxiously on TV as the Englishman suffered a late slip, bogeying the 18th to set up the sudden-death shoot-out.
Both players hit fine drives at the first extra hole, but after Shinkwin’s approach found an awkward, downhill lie by the greenside bunker, Cabrera Bello hit a superb approach shot into the par-five from 275 yards, and was able to two-putt to victory.
Shinkwin’s consolation prize is a place in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. He will be joined by Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, who came third on 10 under par and Dodt, who was two further back at eight under alongside Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, Matt Kuchar of the USA, Englishman Anthony Wall and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox.
Dodt’s challenge for the title faded after four bogeys on the back nine and he finished in a tie for fourth on eight under with a 73, although he took the third Open spot, edging out England’s Anthony Wall by virtue of his higher world ranking – 193 to 245.
Cabrera Bello is the first Spanish winner of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, and follows Alex Noren (BMW PGA Championship), Tommy Fleetwood (HNA Open de France) and his compatriot Jon Rahm (Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation) as a Rolex Series champion.
from News – Irish Golf Desk http://ift.tt/2v8J0fA