The ISPS HANDA Perth International marked the last remaining regular European Tour event before the FedEx Cup copycat Final Series begins. Here are 5 Things you need to know from all the action in Australia.
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1. WAIT IS OVER: It’s been a three-year wait, but Jin Jeong finally made his mark in the professional game. His playoff victory over Ross Fisher was perhaps overdue.
Jeong made history in 2010 when he became the first Asian to win the British Amateur Championship. Jeong defeated Scotland’s James Byrne at Muirfield. He putted his way to victory, and it seemed his prowess in that department of the game would pave the way for a successful professional career.
However, Jeong’s experienced a faltering start to life in the money game. He played most of his European Tour golf this year on the Challenge Tour, with a T-9 in the Mugello Tuscany Open his best finish. His appearance in Perth was just his second start on the main tour following the KLM Open where he placed T-50.
The 23-year-old finished fifth at the first stage of European Tour Q-School to earn his way to second stage. He can forget Q-School now, with his maiden European Tour win earns him a two-year exemption.
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2. ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL: It seems strange to be talking of Ross Fisher on the comeback trail, but the long-hitting Englishman has been quiet in recent seasons. The 32-year-old won four times between 2007-2010, played on the victorious 2010 European Ryder Cup team and then went quiet.
Fisher is back on the European Tour after a stint on the PGA Tour. Europe could be seeing more of Fisher considering the Englishman failed to keep his PGA Tour card this year. He missed eight of 15 cuts with a best finish a T-21 at the Farmers Insurance Open. He ended up 163rd on the money list with $311,168 in earnings.
Don’t be surprised if Fisher wins again in 2014. He’s too talented to go winless for four straight years.
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3. NO LAST-MINUTE REPRIEVE: While Ross Fisher went home feeling relatively happy with his runner-up finish, namesake Oliver left Australia contemplating the European Tour Q-School.
The 2005 Walker Cup player arrived in Perth 122nd on the European money list and needing to get inside the top 110 to be certain of a 2014 European Tour card. Fisher made the cut and finished T-18 to earn €16,523, but moved just four places on the money list to 118th.
The 2011 Czech Open remains Fisher’s only European Tour victory. Many thought the man once seen as a rival to Rory McIlroy for European Tour No. 1 status would push on from that victory and win more tournaments. Instead he’s gone backward.
Hopefully the Englishman can come good because the European Tour needs talents like his.
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4. SNEAKING HOME: Ireland’s Peter Lawrie looks to have secured status on the 2014 European Tour thanks to a T-18 finish that takes him over the safety mark.
Lawrie arrived in Australia 114th on the money list and four places from a 2014 card. However, the €16,523 he earned takes him to 109th and a full-time job on next year’s European Tour.
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5. SAVING HIS BEST FOR LAST: Dustin Johnson made the trip Down Under and saved his best golf for the final round. After scores of 69, 74 and 75, Johnson closed with a 6-under 66 for joint 12th place to earn €22,311. That figure should pale in comparison to the handsome appearance fee he no doubt picked up for travelling to Oz.