Jonathan Caldwell fires stunning 64 for first European Tour win

Clandeboyne man comes out on top after Adrián Otaegui three-putted the last

Jonathan Caldwell poses with the trophy and Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson after his win during the final round of The Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik and Annika at Vallda Golf & Country Club. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

Jonathan Caldwell poses with the trophy and Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson after his win during the final round of The Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik and Annika at Vallda Golf & Country Club. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

For Jonathan Caldwell, the long wait was worth every second of a journey years in the making. A stunning final round 64 - capped off with a remarkable approach shot from the rough on the last to close with a birdie, which he described as “the best shot I’ve ever hit” - for a total of 17-under-par 271 saw the Northern Irishman claim a career-changing win on the PGA European Tour, lifting the inaugural Scandinavian Mixed tournament.

Caldwell - a team-mate of Rory McIlroy on the 2007 Walker Cup team - embarked on a professional career in 2008 that, for the most part, has been spent on the mini-tours and at one point even saw him working in a Nevada Bob’s golf shop in his hometown Bangor to make ends meet when playing rights anywhere were limited.

Finally, such days have been put well and truly behind the Co Down player who celebrated his 37th birthday last Thursday. As if to underscore the significance of his arrival into the winner’s enclosure, legendary Swedish golfer Annika Sorenstam - co-host of the tournament with Henrik Stenson - fist-bumped Caldwell as he departed the 18th green and headed to the recorder’s hut and then the practice area to await developments as his pursuers neared the end-game.

Only one, in truth, had any chance of spoiling Caldwell’s party. But Spain’s Adrián Otaegui failed to capitalise on his approach to the 18th which set up a 20 footer for a birdie to win outright. Otaegui missed the birdie putt and compounded matters by then missing a four-footer for par and finished with a three-putt bogey, meaning Caldwell cut short his time on the range to bask in the glory of finally earning a European Tour win.

Apart from the €145,000 winner’s payday (which prompted him to set up a bar tab at Clandeboye Golf Club), the bigger picture for Caldwell is a two-year exemption onto the European Tour - after so many years of battling for playing rights - to the end of 2023 and, more immediately, an assurance of getting into Rolex Series events like next month’s Scottish Open. Before that, he will return to the competition trail at the BMW International in Munich before the DDF Irish Open at Mount Juliet on July 1st-4th.

Through the four days, Caldwell managed no fewer than 26 birdies (along with two eagles, 11 bogeys and a double bogey) but the best was certainly saved for last. A wild tee shot off the 18th into heavy rough left him with 142 yards to the pin. Caldwell hit an aggressive full gap wedge 130 yards to get up over the upslope onto the green and it released forward so that it settled just three feet from the hole and he rolled in the putt.

Caldwell’s improvement is recent years has helped by working with swing coach Paddy Small and with strength and conditioning coach Ryan Burgess.

In what was his 48th appearance in a European Tour event - which one also co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour in a tournament equally featuring 78 men and 78 women - Caldwell admitted of his late development into a tour winner: “I understand my golf swing a bit better now than I did for a long time. I’m working on the right things and mentally I am better, mature. I have always had a decent short game. I can’t really put my finger on it but I am technically better tee-to-green and I have a fairly good mentality for the game.”

He added: “I think we complicate this game a bit too much sometimes. I try to keep it simple. I tried to treat today as if I was at home playing with my mates. I think it is when you start to see trouble and position on leaderbords that you can start to falter, so the mentality was just to treat it pretty casual.”

Caldwell hits his approach to the 18th. Photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images
Caldwell hits his approach to the 18th. Photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images

That attitude worked a treat for Caldwell, who has been assisted by the Team Ireland Golf for a number of years. “Not only do they give financial support, there is support with fitness and psychology. They have been a tremendous help with me,” he acknowledged.

Final scores from the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika (Gbr & Irl unless stated, Par 72)

271 Jonathan Caldwell 70 67 70 64

272 Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 71 68 66 67

273 Alice Hewson 68 67 69 69

275 Scott Hend (Aus) 69 67 69 70, James Morrison 70 67 68 70

276 Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 69 67 71 69,

277 Alexander Bjoerk (Swe) 72 68 71 66, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 70 68 66 73, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 69 68 73 67

278 Olivia Cowan (Ger) 68 67 73 70, David Drysdale 67 68 70 73, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 69 71 73 65, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 68 68 73 69

279 Vincent Norrman (Swe) 66 73 70 70, Kristoffer Broberg (Swe) 68 70 71 70, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 69 67 73 70, Rhys Enoch 71 67 66 75

280 Caroline Hedwall (Swe) 67 64 73 76, Sanna Nuutinen (Fin) 68 69 70 73, Maja Stark (Swe) 72 68 72 68, Linn Grant (Swe) 71 68 70 71, Ashun Wu (Chn) 71 70 69 70, Oliver Wilson 72 65 70 73, Pep Angles (Spa) 65 69 75 71

281 Emily Kristine Pedersen (Den) 70 67 73 71, Lee-Anne Pace (Rsa) 72 68 73 68, Stephanie Kyriacou (Aus) 68 66 74 73, Nuria Iturrios (Spa) 70 67 75 69, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 69 66 74 72, Sam Horsfield 64 74 72 71, Matthew Southgate 71 69 72 69, Ashley Chesters 65 70 70 76

282 Karolin Lampert (Ger) 68 68 72 74, Johanna Gustavsson (Swe) 68 72 70 72, Wil Besseling (Ned) 68 70 70 74, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 70 70 72 70

283 Christine Wolf (Aut) 64 72 73 74, Karoline Lund (Nor) 68 71 73 71, Steven Brown 65 68 77 73, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 70 67 73 73, Sebastian Garcia (Spa) 69 69 71 74

284 Felicity Johnson 66 71 75 72, Leonie Harm (Ger) 67 71 72 74, Aaron Rai 72 67 77 68, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 66 67 77 74

285 Elizabeth Young 70 71 75 69, Maria Hernandez (Spa) 69 68 74 74, Ludvig Aaberg (Swe) 69 67 74 75, Joost Luiten (Ned) 67 65 78 75, Robert Rock 70 68 72 75, Aaron Cockerill (Can) 69 70 73 73

286 Lina Boqvist (Swe) 67 69 74 76, Anne-Lise Caudal (Fra) 72 68 76 70, Niklas Lemke (Swe) 75 66 71 74, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 65 69 77 75, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 71 68 73 74

287 Magdalena Simmermacher (Arg) 68 70 79 70, Pia Babnik (Slo) 68 66 81 72, Sarina Schmidt (Ger) 67 68 79 73, Richie Ramsay 67 73 70 77

288 Laura Fuenfstueck (Ger) 67 73 76 72, Oliver Farr 66 74 73 75, Carlos Pigem (Spa) 68 68 78 74, Si-Hwan Kim (USA) 68 71 76 73

290 Atthaya Thitikul (Tha) 70 68 82 70, Matthew Jordan 71 68 78 73

291 Jamie Donaldson 67 73 71 80, Yi-Keun Chang (Kor) 70 69 79 73

293 Francesco Laporta (Ita) 69 72 78 74

295 Jack Senior 68 71 79 77

299 Alison Muirhead 69 71 85 74

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.