Saturday 3 December 2016

Morrison survives late Fisher surge to take crown in Madeira

Nigel Whittaker

Published 12/04/2010 | 05:00

James Morrison held his nerve to complete a one-stroke victory ahead of fellow Englishman Oliver Fisher in the Madeira Islands Open yesterday.

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Morrison led by three strokes going into the final round but was twice pegged back to just a single shot ahead as Fisher shot a seven-under-par 65, the joint best round of the day.

The second of those occasions came when Morrison bogeyed the 17th, but both he and Fisher birdied the last to give Morrison victory on 20 under par.

Scotland's George Murray finished third on 14 under while Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey and Englishman, Gary Clark, were three shots further back in a tie for sixth.

Morrison started the day 18 under, with Murray 15 under and Fisher a seemingly distant 12 under.

But the latter strung four birdies together from the third and Morrison bogeyed the first and third, though a birdie at the friendly sixth hole kept him narrowly ahead.

He eagled the eighth and birdied the 10th to restore his three-stroke advantage, and when Murray dropped shots at 13 and 14 he was left with Fisher as his only challenger.

Nerves

Fisher birdied the 14th to move back within two and, as the nerves began to show, that late dropped shot left Morrison just a single shot ahead going down the last.

A solid four on the 603-yard par five ensured his victory despite Fisher also picking up a shot to complete his bogey-free 65, matching the score of Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, who surged through the field to finish tied for ninth on 10 under.

Morrison said: "I'm overwhelmed. It hasn't really sunk in yet. I don't think it will sink in properly until Monday. I'm over the moon."

Speaking about the dramatic final hole, Morrison added: "I knew I had to go for it because I knew Ollie (Fisher) would hit the green and make four at the very least.

"I knew I had to make four to win. So I hit a three wood off a downhill lie and it was the best shot of my career because it meant the most.

"I've got my card for next year. I can play Wentworth, Loch Lomond, I can play all the big events now and who knows what can happen from here. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully the doors keep opening."

Meanwhile, Simon Thornton -- of the Royal County Down club -- sealed his best finish of the year finishing tied for 13th on eight under after a disappointing final round of 75.

Irish Independent

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