2002: PGA European Tour - Mackenzie ends 20-year wait

Versailles, France

After a winless streak of 508 tournaments on the PGA European Tour, one would expect Malcolm Mackenzie to have a little trouble closing the deal.

But just when it looked as if Mackenzie’s drought would continue in a final-stretch collapse in the French Open, a brilliant birdie on the 18th hole halted a stretch of three consecutive bogeys and dramatically ended the 40-year-old Englishman’s 20-year wait for his first European Tour triumph.

Mackenzie led South African Trevor Immelman by three shots with four holes to play May 5 at Le Golf National, but bogeys on Nos. 15, 16 and 17 dropped him back into a tie for the lead – and shook his already fragile confidence.

“After the 17th, I just thought I was going to mess up the last hole as well. I thought I was losing it altogether,” he admitted.

But after a little pep talk from his caddie on the par-5 18th, Mackenzie refocused and bravely went for the green and the victory, not the lay-up and the tie. He fired a 2-iron into the wind from 193 yards that landed 15 feet from the pin on the island green, and Mackenzie then converted the easy two-putt for the one-shot victory, leaving even Immelman applauding.

“I had a conversation with my caddie, and said, ‘Are we going to go for it or what?’ ” Mackenzie said. “He said, ‘Go on, have a go.’ I’m glad he did. I’ve got to thank him for that. . . . We thought if we birdie, we will win, so I had to go for it. It is the best 2-iron I have hit.”

It also is by far the best paycheck he has earned.

The top prize of 333,330 euros (approximately $305,997) is more than Mackenzie won in the last two years combined, and lifted him from 146th to seventh in the Volvo Order of Merit.

Mackenzie, who took the lead with a 7-under 65 in the third round, finished with a 14-under 274 after his final-round 72, with Immelman at 13-under 275. Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam, thanks to an eagle at the 18th, tied for third at 276 with Kenneth Ferrie and Anders Hansen.

Mackenzie’s triumph broke Roger Chapman’s European Tour record of 472 events before a victory, which ended when Chapman won two years ago in Brazil.

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