Paul Waring is finally a European Tour winner after years of heartache.
The 33-year-old Englishman defeated South Africa’s Thomas Aiken at the first hole of a sudden death playoff to win the $1.7 million Nordea Masters after the pair tied on 14 under. Waring held the lead by one shot down the stretch but found himself in a playoff when Aiken birdied the par-5 final hole.
Waring was practically gifted the title when Aiken sliced his tee shot into a water hazard when they returned to the 18th tee. Waring only had to par the hole to win and pick up a check for $286,000. He duly did so. It’s his biggest ever European Tour check since turning pro in 2007.
It was some way to celebrate his 200th European Tour appearance.
“I’m obviously ecstatic,” Waring said. “I wasn’t sure this day would ever come in total honesty. I tried so hard for many years to get to this point and managed finally to cross the line.”
“It wasn’t easy. I felt really in control though. I’ve made a few swing changes so I was kind of allowing myself to hit bad shots now and again. So there wasn’t too much pressure.”
Waring had an excellent amateur career that included winning the 2005 English Amateur. He was in contention for the same 2007 Walker Cup squad that Rory McIlroy was a part of but never made the final 10-man team. However, most expected him to go on to a multiple European Tour wins.
A series of wrist and shoulder injuries hampered Waring’s progress. He missed long spells of the 2011, 2012 and 2015 seasons. There was a time when the player from Birkenhead, England thought he might never play again, never mind win.
“It feels like it’s all worth it,” Waring said. “I’ve had a couple of operations along the way and it’s nice to have finally got to this point.”
Thorbjorn Olesen didn’t get the top-two finish he needed to move to move to fourth automatic spot on the European Ryder Cup points list. However, his solo fourth finish is projected to see him replace Ian Poulter in fourth in the world points list when the list is updated Monday.