McGowan holds on for first pro title

Home

Former England Amateur champion Ross McGowan won his first European Tour title as he took the Madrid Masters by three shots.

Former England Amateur champion Ross McGowan won his first European Tour title at the Madrid Masters on Sunday – but only by three after taking a seven-shot lead into the final round.

The blond and stocky Englishman followed up his magical 12-under 60 on Saturday with a one under 71 on Sunday on a course toughened up considerably by difficult pin placements.

It was 11 shots worse than his 60, but his 25 under par total of 263 was still enough in the end to give him the first prize of just over £227,000 and put him in second place in the European Ryder Cup race.

Mikko Ilonen, of Finland, finished alone in second place on 22-under and with that secured his Tour card for next season.

Seven clear after his magical third-round 60 at Centro Nacional on Saturday, the 27-year-old from Surrey saw that advantage cut to only two by Finn Mikko Ilonen with jyst four holes to play.

But a 10-foot birdie putt at the 15th eased his worries about blowing the biggest lead of the season.

Even then McGowan was a little lucky not to do so on the par-five last when his second shot was pulled and finished on wooden sleepers just above the lake.
He was able to breath easily again when he saved par and with his closing one-under-par 71 collect the £227,014 first prize and everthing that goes with it.
“I came here this week in form and it’s lovely to come away with the trophy,” he said.
“Once I saw where some of the pins were and realised it was a lot trickier than before, my game-plan was to hit as many greens as I could.
“It means a lot to win – that’s another goal out of the way and hopefully from here I can progress and move on to bigger things.”
Ilonen, the former British amateur champion, finished runner-up and after starting the week down in 159th place, he has moved up and should now be well inside the top 115 who keep their cards for next season.
After finding himself 12 adrift following an opening 74, Ilonen had rounds of 63, 63 and 66.
Scotland’s David Drysdale, joint halfway leader with Sergio Garcia, closed with a 67 for third place, while pre-tournament favourite Garcia ended up in 17th place.
McGowan, the former Walker Cup player and English amateur champion three years ago, began his cup campaign with a third-place finish in Switzerland last month and in his next start was sixth at the Alfred Dunhill Links last Monday.
He will remember his Saturday 60 for as long as he plays, although it does not count as a Tour record-equalling round because placing was allowed on the wet fairways all week.
At 24 under with a round to go, he was one better than the all-time Tour record after 54 holes and Ernie Els’ record 72-hole total of 29 under beckoned.
But the day was all about securing his maiden victory really and, in a shaky start, bogeys at the first and fourth gave the chasing pack hope.
A seven-foot putt on the long fifth appeared vital and by adding further birdies at the sixth and ninth the gap was back up to six.
Still it was not easy, though. He three-putted the 11th while Ilonen birdied the 10th, 12th and 15th.
In February, McGowan had lost the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia from two ahead with six to play, but he kept his nerve this time.
ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):

263 Ross McGowan 66 66 60 71
266 Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 74 63 63 66
267 David Drysdale 66 65 69 67
270 Gary Murphy 67 65 70 68, Alexander Noren (Swe) 71 67 67 65, Gareth Maybin 70 68 68 64
271 Anthony Wall 66 67 70 68, Danny Willett 66 67 66 72, Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 74 63 67 67
272 Gary Lockerbie 68 70 68 66, Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 69 66 64 73, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 67 66 68 71, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 70 68 66 68, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 71 65 65 71, Luke Donald 71 69 65 67, Emanuele Canonica (Ita) 67 65 69 71
273 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 69 68 69 67, Alvaro Salto (Spa) 69 67 68 69, Damien McGrane 67 71 68 67, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 64 67 71 71
274 Marcel Siem (Ger) 67 68 71 68, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 69 69 65 71
275 Alvaro Velasco (Spa) 72 67 67 69, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 71 69 68 67, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 69 67 71 68, David Lynn 67 70 70 68, Oliver Fisher 65 74 66 70, Paul Broadhurst 71 66 70 68, Alessandro Tadini (Ita) 68 67 72 68, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 70 69 64 72, Bradley Dredge 69 69 69 68
276 Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 72 67 66 71, Phillip Price 70 69 67 70, Scott Drummond 68 70 67 71, Simon Khan 68 68 69 71, Seve Benson 70 69 68 69
277 Paul Waring 69 69 73 66, David Horsey 66 71 69 71, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa) 69 70 66 72, Pablo Martin (Spa) 70 67 71 69, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 71 67 66 73, Barry Lane 68 71 68 70
278 Richard Bland 72 67 70 69, Jarmo Sandelin (Swe) 72 67 72 67, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 69 70 67 72, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 69 68 71 70, Peter Lawrie 69 67 72 70, Stephen Dodd 70 69 69 70, Santiago Luna (Spa) 70 70 68 70, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa) 70 67 71 70, Sam Little 68 70 68 72, Manuel Quiros (Spa) 62 73 70 73
279 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned) 69 69 70 71, Jeppe Huldahl (Den) 69 71 71 68, Pelle Edberg (Swe) 71 68 70 70, Lee Slattery 68 68 76 67, Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa) 75 65 69 70, Paul Lawrie 70 70 69 70, Shane Lowry 71 63 73 72, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 69 67 72 71
280 Daniel Vancsik (Arg) 70 69 72 69, Marc Warren 70 68 71 71, Magnus A Carlsson (Swe) 70 69 73 68, Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 70 66 71 73, Michael Jonzon (Swe) 71 69 71 69
281 Mark Brown (Nzl) 68 72 71 70
282 Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 71 67 74 70
283 Luis Claverie (Spa) 69 71 69 74, Steven O’Hara 71 68 72 72
284 Robert Dinwiddie 72 66 74 72, Michael Hoey 69 69 72 74
285 Carlos Del Moral (Spa) 69 69 72 75
289 Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra) 70 69 77 73

Latest