“It felt like match play out there and I’m delighted to have come out on top,” – Fernandez-Castaño, upon winning the Italian Open at Royal Park I Roveri.
Where I picked him frm this weekend, I don’t know, only that his name was screaming at me when I was choosing my Fantasy Race to Dubai Team, this week.
On the same day that I had a reminder frm the European Tour about choosing my team, I had an e-mail from Ben at PaddyPower, asking me if I fancied a free bet on the Italian Open.
Had I only the same conviction after I’d picked my team when Ben’s offer came through I could well have made myself a few bob from Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño’s win. Always in hindsight, eh?
Had I done my research and known that the 31-year old Spaniard had won here before, I may well have been even more tempted.
With Simon Dyson winning a hat-trick of titles at the KLM this year, Lee Westwood retaining the Indonesian Masters and Luke Donald repeating his heroics at Wentworth in Spring, it’s been a year of golfers winning championships they’ve already got under their belt at some time in the past.
Fernandez-Castaño left it until late to finally get the win by two shots after going into the weekend session having headed the leaderboard, but surrenedered it to valint runner up Garth Mulroy going into the final day.
You can understand where Gonzalo was coming from when he made the match-play statement, with the lead passing between the final pairing all the way along the final eighteen holes.
It was four consecutive birdies at the half way point that really put the Spaniard in the driving seat, but even then Mulroy fought back to level the score on the 70th hole of the competition weekend.
Even though Nicolas Colsaerts had held the lead early in the day, he made heavy work of the back nine and it was a two horse race on the last two holes of the weekend that decided the 2012 Italian Open.
With Gonzalo’s final score of -24 under for the tourney, you’d think that a par and a birdie on the last two may have jeopardised the Spaniard’s chances.
However, it was the South African Mulroy who found trouble on both the 71st and 72nd holes that allowed those scores to be enough for Gonzalo to pick up his sixth Euroean tour title.
Mulroy found the sandtraps on both of the last two holes, bogeying seventeen and parring eighteen, gifting Gonzalo the title by two clear shots.
It was just the tonic Gonzalo needed after being pipped to Team Europe’s Ryder cup team by the aforementioned Colsaerts.
Rather than arriving in Italy on his usual Tuesday to get acclimatised for a Tour event, Gonzalo stayed back a day to see his children start the new term at school.
Perhaps this is a new beginning for Gonzalo, too. He’s spoken to Olly about not making the team for Medinah and fully understands why he’s not been included.
He knows himself, his performances have not been polished and consistent enough throughout the season. It was that simple.
But that was set aside in Italy as he took his first title since last November and, more importantly, scored Zeb’s Tee Totallers maximum points in the Fantasy Race to Dubai – Go, Go, Go, Gonzalo!
See on www.golf.co.uk
- WGC 2013: Carl Pettersson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano to face giant-killers (thenewstribe.com)
- National Sport: Rose sent crashing by Colsaerts (coventrytelegraph.net)
- A 1-2 knockout: McIlroy, Woods lose in Match Play (nbcsports.msnbc.com)