DUBLINER Paul McGinley is relishing a long, hot summer on European fairways as he soared into a share of sixth place at the ISPS Handa Wales Open with a superb closing 65 at Celtic Manor yesterday.
McGinley illuminated an overcast, blustery, rain-doused afternoon in the Usk Valley with his golf as he compiled the low round of the day.
"To be honest, I really played well all week," said the Irish Ryder Cup legend, who tied with Ross Fisher, two behind Thongchai Jaidee (42) of Thailand, who clinched his fifth Tour win with a one-over-par 72.
"Thursday and Friday probably were as good as I've ever played in my life. I played marvellously both days and didn't score," added McGinley, smiling. "I probably could say the same about Saturday but in the final round, I actually scored better than I played."
Fisher was furious after being given a one-shot penalty (and a €7,500 fine) for slow play during his final round. "I don't think it's justice but there you go," said the Englishman, who fell away after being given the penalty.
It's only 10 months since the European Tour last handed out a stroke penalty but decades since someone in the final group on the final day had action taken against them for slow play.
Tour chief referee John Paramor stepped in after giving Fisher, Jaidee and Luiten in the final group a warning as early as the sixth hole that they needed to speed up. Then came Fisher's second shot to the par-five 11th.
As the second of the group to play he was allowed 40 seconds plus a few more due to the weather, but took 57.
"It was a clear bad time," said Paramor. "Then on the 14th green he took 55 seconds over his first putt. I told him before he teed off at 15 and don't think he was particularly happy."
The €72,680 McGinley banked brings his haul from just seven events in 2012 to €183,583, lifting him to 64th place in the Race to Dubai, which places him well ahead of schedule to regain his full Tour card this season.