Perhaps you can play ‘somewhat’ better golf on a course located in the heart of this sport, in Scotland, the Fairmont Saint Andrews, but of course you cannot ‘putt’ with more success than this Sunday Adrián Otaegui, faithful disciple of the teacher Txema Olazábal (in attitude in the field, mastery of the irons, patience, serenity, coldness …) had in the last day of a Scottish Championship that the Gipuzkoan was awarded with 4 blows over the second and unhinging his two rivals in the fight for victory: Matt Wallace, who was the leader this Sunday with 4 strokes of advantage over the Spanish, and Garrick Porteus. At six, third, he slipped Aaron Rai. Otaegui, about to turn 28, signed an excellent card of 63 strokes, with 10 birdies and one bogey, for 265 strokes, 23 under par, getting his third win in the Tour Europeo after Paul Lawrie Match Play (2017) and Belgian Knockout (2018), both in match play mode.
What a recital from tee to green, but especially putt, gave this Sunday Otaegui, who on hole 1 had already played two strokes difference compared to leader Wallace and after hole 9 he was already a solo leader with -5 on the day after five birdies like five suns. From the 10th, to swim and put away clothes, with a bogey (his rivals too) in this hole and then another five cathedral birdies to deliver the final thrust to the British, who ended up surrendering to the enormous display of a simply huge Otaegui and that at times reminded the Olazábal of the best times. It was definitely a final lap to frame.
“I am happy with how I have played all week, a very good, very consistent lap, and a great job from my caddy (Job Sugrañes) I have also ‘putted’ very well”, were his first statements at the foot of the 18th green. “I want to thank my sponsors and the European circuit, I am really very satisfied. After the 62 of the first day I did not know … anything could happen, but I knew that I was playing well the last weeks, “he added. “I went to my thing, blow by blow, this was not an easy lap going four strokes, but very proud to win in a field and in a place like this. I have given everything, I knew that victory was going to come soon, I wanted to finish well, and everything has worked out for me ”, concluded Adrián before receiving the trophy and the congratulations via Skype from his family, his father and his brother.
Adrián had been playing very well from tee to green for some time, but the putting had prevented him from delivering better results and being higher in tournaments. At the recent BMW PGA Championship he had a bad feeling with the putt and on the putting green at Wentworth went to work to find a solution. The problem came from the fact that it opened the clubface a lot when going up and closed it when going down. Once the problem was found, he began to practice thinking about that sensation to keep his face more square all the time. He corrected his posture a bit and things were better but not to pass the cut.
Upon his arrival at Fairmont Saint Andrews for the Scottish Championship, he made – according to the specialized portal ‘tengolf.es’ – a second putt adjustment. This time related to the grip. Otaegui decided to bring his hands closer together by stretching both index fingers down along the handle. He was better placed before the ball. The result: 62 strokes on Thursday and 64 on Sunday, but most importantly, an incontestable victory that does justice to their effort and work.
Otaegui explained the changes. “I had the feeling that a good round could go, I didn’t know to what extent, but I was clear that the last two weeks, although the results were not very good, I was playing very well from tee to green. Good sensations. Only the putt was missing. It’s the same putter, I’ve just changed my stance and grip a bit. I had good feelings on practice days, but until you play a tournament you don’t know what will happen. The putter this time plugged in. That was the main difference, “he told the website.
The 62 was the best lap of his career since he turned professional in 2011. On both the European Tour and the Challenge, he has only recorded another 62 as the lowest lap, but it was in a par 70. He did it in the second round of the South African Tshwane Open 2015, in Pretoria.
It must be said that Scotland suits Otaegui well. Not surprisingly, his two best laps in 2019 on the European Tour were 64 strokes and both in Scotland, one at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the other at the Scottish Open.
This is the fifth victory for Spanish golf in Scottish links after those achieved by Seve Ballesteros at the Old Course of Saint Andrews in the British 1984, the Dunhill Cup that Spain won at the Old Course in 1999 and 2000, the Scottish Open of Rafa Cabrera in 2017 and this Sunday in Otaegui.
Final classification (par 72)
265 Adrián Otaegui (Esp)
269 Matt Wallace (GBR)
271 Aaron Rai (GBR)
272 Garrick Porteus (GBR)
Chris Paisley (GBR)
280 Gonzalo Fdez-Castaño (Esp / 33º)