A brilliant late birdie burst helped Rickie Fowler secure his first European Tour victory in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
For much of the final day, Fowler struggled to find his rhythm in the strong winds and cold temperatures at Gullane Golf Club, but rose magnificently to the occasion late on with three birdies in his final four holes – including a tap-in at the last courtesy of a wonderful wedge shot.
A round of 68 for a 12 under par aggregate total saw him leapfrog fellow American Matt Kuchar, who had previously set the clubhouse target on 11 under par, after he too signed for a 68.
Raphaël Jacquelin, playing alongside overnight leader Daniel Brooks in the last group, needed an eagle on the 72nd hole to force a play-off, and the Frenchman almost pulled off the unlikely feat when his approach stopped within a foot of the cup. That tap-in birdie set the seal on a level par round of 70, and his tied runner-up finish earned Jacquelin a place in next week’s Open Championship.
Brooks struggled in a round of 73, but the Englishman took ample consolation from a place at St Andrews along with Sweden’s Rickard Karlberg, who closed with a superb 64 to claim the third and final Open Championship berth. Karlberg’s score was matched by Marc Warren, who finished as the leading home player on ten under par.
Speaking after his win, Fowler said: “It was nice to be back in contention again, and I’m excited about where my game is at. Probably the only thing that would be more special than this would be winning the Open next week. But winning on a links golf course in Scotland is a special week. I didn’t see many scores being under par with the way the wind was blowing, so it was a tough test of golf and I’m proud of how I finished.”