Donaldson victorious in Prague
Jamie Donaldson won the Czech Masters by a two stroke margin in Prague on Sunday.
The Welshman held off challenges from fellow countryman Bradley Dredge and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen to card a four under 68 final round. That left him on 14 under for the tournament, two clear of Dredge.
The win at the Albatross Golf Resort books Donaldson a place in the European Ryder Cup team, which tees off in September at Gleneagles.
“This is big…it’s been an amazing week,” the 37-year-old told europeantour.com
“I didn’t get here until late. I needed to play well either this week or next week, or both, to guarantee my place in The Ryder Cup Team so there was a lot on the line and this week I played really well, so that’s great.
“I felt pretty good after yesterday; I’ve had a lot of birdies here all week. I’ve dropped too many shots, which stopped me from moving away a little bit, so today everything came together.
“I had a great first three holes and felt very relaxed. I just had to slow things down, take my time and allow myself to play good shots all the time, as opposed to some of the time – and that went my way and worked well and enabled me to win.
“Winning is everything: wins shoot you up world rankings, Race To Dubai, all sorts. Its massive – those three last holes coming in there were really tough with the wind blowing, so I’m just really happy to seal it.’
Donaldson, who trailed Dredge by two strokes at the start of the day, got off to a flyer.
His second shot landed on the green on the par five first, he holed out from 15 feet at the second and landed within two feet of the pin at the par three third for a tap in and a hat-trick of birdies.
However the world number 29’s run came to an end on the fourth with a wayward drive ending up behind a tree. He would card his first bogey and Kjeldsen would birdie the fifth, giving the Dane a one stroke lead.
But the three time European Tour winner came back strongly with a birdie on the sixth, a 25 foot birdie putt on the tenth and an easy four on the par five 12th.
Donaldson would bogey the 17th, but the mistake did not prove costly as Dredge would drive his ball into the hazard, also leading to a bogey.
A solid par on the final would seal the win for Donaldson, whose last victory on the European Tour came in January 2013 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Aside from the win, the Welshman was chuffed to secure a place in Paul McGinley’s team in what will be his first Ryder Cup.
“It’s so difficult to get into the team, the lads are playing so well,” added Donaldson.
“You know that you have to play well to secure your place and it did come down to the wire. But that’s how it is to get into the team – I played as well as I can play for 18 months, and then a couple of slow events and you rocket down the list, so it’s great to come here and play so well and do enough to get into the team.”
Meanwhile, Dredge finished two shots off the pace and lamented his missed opportunities.
“Mixed feelings because again there was the chance to win there,” said Dredge.
“I had a two shot lead going into the last round. Both the guys got off to great starts today and I played nicely, but just didn’t putt as well today. I was trying to keep the pressure on and try to force the other guys into mistakes, but to be fair to Jamie he played great and I’m pleased he’s secured his place in the Ryder Cup.”
South Africa’s Merrick Bremner would join Kjeldsen on 11 under for the tournament for a share of third place, while English duo Tommy Fleetwood and Eddie Pepperell would finish on eight under.
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