2005: Bjorn’s K Club demons resurface
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
It was a year ago at the Smurfit European Open when Thomas Bjorn walked off the course after just six holes, disgusted with his game and bewildered about a resolution. After struggling through a horrendous finish July 3, an early exit might have seemed like a good idea this year.
Bjorn stuck around for the finish, but not before losing a four-shot lead and wrapping up the tournament with a bogey, a septuple-bogey and a bogey to fall to a tie for 33rd.
England’s Kenneth Ferrie benefited from Bjorn’s misfortune and earned his second PGA European Tour victory.
If Bjorn was looking to exorcise demons, he fell far short.
“That was the worst day of my golfing life,” he said. “It was a tough day. This was my golf tournament. . .”
Bjorn was playing in the final twosome with France’s Raphael Jacquelin, who shot 79 and tied for 19th. But the final-round number most shocking – other than Bjorn’s 11 on No. 17 – was his Sunday score of 86. Jacquelin and Bjorn’s mind-numbing total of 165 in the final round was the same number taken two Sundays earlier by Retief Goosen (81) and Jason Gore (84) – the final pairing at the U.S. Open.
Ferrie shot a final-round 70 to finish 3 under and earn a two-shot victory over Graeme Storm (73) and Colin Montgomerie (69). His victory concluded a week in which he also made the British Open field in a qualifier June 27-28.
Ferrie’s first victory was the 2003 Spanish Open, and he stepped it up a notch with a triumph at the K Club.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think 70 would be enough,” Ferrie said. “I’m really, really pleased. To win the (Spanish Open) . . . was obviously an achievement but then to win again and take a step up by winning one of the more prestigious tournaments is fantastic.
“To beat the quality of guys who were here today and to see the names on the trophy who have won this tournament before, it feels pretty good.”
Storm also walked away happy. The 1999 British Amateur champion earned a berth in the British Open as the highest finisher not already guaranteed a spot.
Bjorn led the list of disappointed competitors at the K Club, but he wasn’t alone. Despite his final-round 69, Montgomerie was left wondering what might have been.
His double bogey on No. 7 in the final round, along with a missed 5-foot birdie putt on No. 18, proved the difference between victory and a tie for second.
“It is frustrating to come up a couple short, but it was a reasonable effort from 66th place on Friday night,” Montgomerie said. “I have come very close here. I’ll just try again next week.”
– Staff and wire reports