Dougherty survives scare to win BMW

 

Golf - BMW International Open:England’s Nick Dougherty, who this time last year had little desire to play golf, finally returned to winning ways in Munich today - and with it earned a place in next month’s British Open.

But what a scare the 27-year-old from Liverpool, so devastated by the sudden death of his mother straight after his US Masters debut 14 months ago, was given before he made the BMW International Open his third European Tour victory.

Four clear and seemingly coasting, the gap was suddenly cut to one when Argentina’s Rafa Echenique sank a 243-yard three-iron on the last for only the fourth albatross of the Tour season.

Having eagled the 11th Echenique equalled the Tour record with his back nine 27 - he actually played the last 10 holes in an amazing 10 under - but Dougherty kept his composure.

Three closing pars gave him a superb 64 for a 22 under par total and after raising a hand to the skies he said: “The strength that my Mum had lives on in me.

“I want to say thank you to all the people who have helped me through some tough times. I have a great team around me and it’s great to be back where I feel I belong.”

The win earned him nearly €333,330 and he qualifies for Turnberry off a mini-Order of Merit which has been running since the Italian Open at the start of last month.

On the moment when he saw what Echenique had done Dougherty added: “I thought ‘Oh my goodness’. The 18th has been an absolute brute for me this week and I’m delighted to get the job done.”

Long-time leader Retief Goosen finished third, but 51-year-old Bernhard Langer, hoping to become the oldest winner in Tour history in front of his home fans and only one behind after an opening birdie, fell back to ninth.

Echenique commented: “I’ve never had an albatross before and I had a great sensation. This is a dream for me - it’s unbelievable.”

Rory McIlroy finished best of the Irish after a closing 67 left the 20-year-old tied 15th on 14-under. Peter Lawrie was two shots further back after a closing 69.

Gareth Maybin (72) and Gary Murphy (73) finished two and three-under respectively, while Michael Hoey dropped way down the field to four-over after today’s 80.