Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rumford's redemption in enthralling Super 6 finale

Brett Rumford completed a remarkable fairy-tale story at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth, Western Australia as the home town favourite claimed a sixth European Tour victory in an enthralling and breathless final day worthy of the revolutionary new format.
A born-and-bred Perth native, the runaway leader after the opening three days of stroke play and seeking to reignite his career after losing his European Tour card last season, destiny seemingly shone on Rumford as he overcame a sensational 17-year-old Thai and a star in the making by the name of Phachara Khongwatmai in the final at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
In an incredible coincidence, an all-action final day which began with 24 players battling it out in a new six-hole match-play format culminated in a final featuring the leader of the strokeplay qualifier and the 24th and last man to make it into the final day – Khongwatmai having fought to the bitter end in an eight-man play-off late Saturday evening.
It was a fittingly engrossing climax, as Rumford stole an early march with a birdie at the first to go one up, before the young Thai – looking to become the second youngest winner in European Tour history – levelled things up at the second.
Rumford cut a determined figure, however, and he required all of his short game expertise as he birdied the fifth, courtesy of a  recovery from under the trees to move clear once again. 
Following that up with a nerveless tee shot to five feet, a birdie two for the match sent the crowds into raptures as Rumford secured his European Tour future and made sure the inaugural edition of the innovative tournament was a memorable one.
Rumford’s compatriots Adam Bland and Jason Scrivener fought it out in the play-off for third spot, with the former emerging victorious, while 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen finished in fifth position.
Player Quotes:
Brett Rumford
“It’s amazing. It's just great to be back with what I feel is my second family at the European Tour. It's been a pretty tough road, last year was pretty tough.
The year before that was even tougher with my surgery. So only seeing my daughters, my twin girls, for four weeks and six months, I completely fell out of love with the game and sort of my direction in life and everything else that goes with it.
“I worked really hard on my golf game and it's just been all of that golf which has been good. I've just been really focused and quite intent on every single day, just getting myself and my game better. I just need to continue to do that.
“I just think it's been a great format and a great week. Whether this can actually work elsewhere, I think you'd have to be quite selective about golf courses that could cater for this, but this one works.
“This event has definitely been in the forefront of my mind for years past. Every single year, this has definitely been on my radar to come out and win. Unfortunately I've given up leads here, but it was a different format this week, a tough one. I can say it's been a really, really tough week.”
Phachara Khongwatmai
“I have no problem with the result because personally I think I have had a really good week. After the third round I didn't even think I would get into finals but I ended up gettuing second place, so I’m just happy now.
“I didn't think anything about my opponent, I just played. I just want to get a win but if not, no problem.”
Louis Oosthuizen
“It was a long day, a bit of a rush here and there, but although I'm disappointed, I played nicely this week.
I think they've got a good concept. I think a few tweaks here and there would make it really good, but I mean it's nerve-racking standing on that little 66‑meter hole, but it's nice pressure and good fun.
“I love this golf course, every time I play here I sort of find my iron play and really shoot good numbers and play well. I love coming back here.
“It is definitely different. I think it’s great Rummy won after the way he played the first three days, but it's a massive mindset change from the stroke play going to a six-hole match play. In six holes you don't have a lot of time if you start off poorly and then that makes it really challenging. But I think it’s very entertaining for people watching and that's what they want.”
Final scores:
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