European Tour: What We Learned at the Porsche European Open
Thongchai Jaidee shot a bogey-free final-round 67 in the Porsche European Open at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach to finish one clear of England's Graeme Storm and land his seventh European Tour title.
The 45-year-old from Thailand came into Sunday with a one-shot lead over Storm, Ross Fisher and Pelle Edberg and reached the turn in 33 following birdies at the 3rd and 8th.
Storm, though, moved into the lead after a timely birdie at the par-4 15th – his fourth in seven holes – but found the hazard on the par-3 17th. But he managed to salvage a bogey and holed a 10-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to set the clubhouse target on 16-under-par.
Jaidee, who birdied 12 and 15, stood on the final tee knowing a par would be enough to secure victory, something he achieved after holing a testing left-to-right six-footer.
Four things we learned at the European Open:
1. Thongchai Jaidee. Jaidee has been a picture of consistency on the European Tour since joining the circuit in 2004 following a victory at the co-sanctioned Malaysian Open. Since then, he’s won seven times, and his latest triumph has moved him to just outside the world’s top 30. It’s been a fruitful year for Thai golfers on the European Tour – in fact, 2015 represents the first time players from the Asian nation have registered three victories (Kiradech Aphibarnrat won the Volvo China Open and the Paul Lawrie Match Play). Jaidee is now 8th on the Race to Dubai and in great position heading toward the Finals Series.
2. Ryder Cup stars. European Tour fans will be delighted to see the likes of Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Jamie Donaldson competing in regular-season events once more. McDowell missed out on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs after a string of lacklustre performances but showed a semblance of form in Germany. Donaldson, who suffered an unprecedented slip down the FedEx Cup rankings at the Wyndham Championship to lose his PGA Tour card, played some solid golf en route to a fifth-place finish.
3. The 110. With just four events until the start of the Finals Series – the European Tour’s answer to the FedEx Cup Playoffs – a number of high-profile names are languishing outside the top 110 on the Race to Dubai standings and at risk of losing their cards for the 2016 season. As it stands, the likes of Thorbjorn Olesen, Peter Hanson, Alvaro Quiros, Darren Clarke, Edoardo Molinari, Matteo Manassero and Oliver Wilson are all outside the top 110. Even though some of them are exempt through other means, it’s not been a good season for a number of players who have excelled on the European Tour in recent years.
4. Graeme Storm. European Tour journeyman Graeme Storm secured his card for 2016 with a strong showing at the European Open. The Englishman hasn’t finished outside the top 110 on the circuit since 2004, but he came into the week outside the mark without a single top 10 to his name all season. He’ll no doubt be somewhat disappointed with his bogey at the 71st hole, but the bigger picture now looks much rosier. Elsewhere, Sweden’s Pelle Edberg solidified his position in the top 110 with another good performance in Germany – his third top three in four weeks.