Otaegui squeezed Sullivan, but the triumph escaped

The 27-year-old from San Sebastián came within two strokes of the champion, but in the end he finished seven (second) in the English Championship.


English Andy Sullivan, who suffered more than expected, added his fourth title on the European Golf Circuit, winning with a fourth card with 65 strokes (-6) and a total of 257 (-27), this Sunday in the English Championship, played at the Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel, in Ware, after a final round where the Spanish Adrián Otaegui made it so difficult that he was only two impacts behind the leader, although in the end the distance was seven. With a card with 66 strokes (-5), and 264 total (-20), he secured a second place that is good for him to regain his morale and positions in the Race to Dubai (it was 111) .

After the day on Saturday, Sullivan was already given as the winner, except for a huge disaster. He had set a new field record on Friday (62) and returned to shine on his third card (64 strokes), giving him a wide lead of five strokes over the second-placed, then his compatriot Steven Brown, and six over Otaegui. That is, by highlighting only a discreet last round, he practically forced his rivals to break the field record if they wanted to beat him. Everything led us to think that Sullivan, five years after his last triumph (Portuguese Open, October 2015), was going to lift a trophy on the European Tour again, even with relative ease and without suffering. Win ... won, but suffered, despite the fact that the figures on the final cards appear otherwise.

Y is that he was very pressured by an excellent Otaegui, who at the rate of birdie came to be with a disadvantage of only 2 on the 12th hole (-23 for English, -21 for Spanish). The Donostiarra was perfect, especially in the first nine holes, where he made five birdies and was close to some more as he was on a remarkable day with the putt. All this despite the fact that the leader began marking territory, with a splendid eagle in 2 that seemed to make it totally impossible to dream of any comeback.

Sullivan, perhaps due to the pressure of seeing how Otaegui (he was in the previous game) marched to the rhythm of birdies, made his first mistake in the 4 and it was not until the 9 when he recovered the -2 on the day. A new birdie, the sixth of the day, from the Spanish in the 12th left him two of the leadership; which woke up the Englishman, who later won a stroke in the same hole. And that freed the English.

Sullivan began to be more confident with his shots, freed from the 'Otaegui pressure', who fulfilled the par in the following holes, without being able to 'steal' any blow from them and ensured a remarkable second place. And the Englishman was again a gale, with birdies on 12, 14 and 15 that took him to -26 with three holes to go. His advantage shot up after five impacts and had sentenced his triumph. Otaegui already saw the comeback impossible, under the tension and, even, in the 17th he committed his only Sunday bogey, which left him six behind the leader. He was finally done with a very good second place, which perhaps seems to him a little before the final distance with Sullivan and knowing that he was only two away from matching him with much still to be played. But his game was to applaud, for his game, for having believed in the 'miracle' (since 2017 he has not traced a distance of six or more strokes on the last day, which Justin Rose achieved), and for having given emotion to A final day that seemed to be a mere walk for the Englishman. Very good final route also by veteran Miguel Ángel Jiménez, with 66 strokes (-5), and a total of 244 (-10) that placed him in position 44 of which was his 708 European Tour tournament, adding one more to his record of appearances. In the same position was Alejandro Cañizares (72 this Sunday); Pablo Larrazábal, with 281 (71) was 65; and Emilio Cuartero, with his 73 from the last day, was 70.

Photos from as.com
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