Cairo (EGYPT): England’s Steven Tiley held his nerve to lead from the front and win by four shots at the $200,000 Egyptian Open after a wind-swept final round in Cairo.
Caption: Steven Tiley receives the Egyptian Open trophy from Egyptian Golf Federation Chairman Ayman Hussein.
It was a controlled performance from the 27 year-old who played on both the Asian Tour and European Challenge Tour this season before recording the biggest win of his career thanks to a final round 68 that saw him take the title on thirteen under par.
For a while a play-off had looked possible as Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen birdied the seventeenth to go level with Tiley on eleven under. Unfortunately for the Dane, a double bogey on the last saw him drop back to nine under, while Tiley grabbed birdies on two of the last three holes to clinch the title.
“When he went to eleven under with me, I thought it was going to be a very close finish,” said Tiley after receiving the 88 year-old trophy from Ayman Hussein, Chairman of the host Egyptian Golf Federation. “But once that double bogey was posted and he dropped to nine under, I knew a par-par finish would be enough so to birdie seventeen was a bonus and I could relax coming up the last.”
One of the famed ISM Management stable that includes the likes of Lee Westwood, Ernie Els and Darren Clarke, Tiley revealed that a phone call from ISM chief Andrew Chandler had helped him focus on the job in hand.
“Chubby told me to just keep doing what I was doing – hitting fairway and greens,” he smiled. “It’s simple but it kept me focused on my game. I just did what I had to do and let the others make mistakes.”
Tiley’s names goes on to the venerable old trophy after an event that saw European Ryder Cup skipper Colin Montgomerie finish in fifth place after a disappointing final round at the JW Marriott Mirage City Golf Club. Monty, who had started the day just three behind the leader, got to within one shot of Tiley but had to settle for an even par 72 seven shots adrift of the new champion.
“I played well all week but just not consistently enough,” said Montgomerie. “Today was a poor day – driving well and putting OK but never at the same time. But overall I’m not too concerned. I’ll get it going again.”
Despite a fierce wind that blew over the trophy on the first tee and threatened to knock many of the players off their feet, Tiley settled quickly picking up a birdie on the second hole before surrendering it on the third.
Despite the setback, he picked up another five shots with a solitary bogey on the fourteenth the only blemish on a calm and collected back nine.
“It’s been a great week for me,” he added. “I’ll take a break next week then go to the second stage of Q School in Spain. This has certainly given me a boost in confidence so I’m looking forward to it.”
Although not part of the official European Challenge Tour, the Egyptian Open showed it has the capacity to put on a worthy event enjoyed by all the visiting pros and amateurs.
“We’ve seen some wonderful golf over the four days and our thanks must go to the player from the European Challenge Tour who agreed to join our local and regional golfers in what we believe to be a unique event in this part of the world,” said Tournament Director Gerard Bent of the Egyptian Golf Federation.
“Their presence – and obviously that of Colin Montgomerie – has given golf in Egypt an international profile and we hope to push on from here and stage full Challenge Tour and possibly European Tour events in the years to come.”
Egyptian Open Leading Scores After Three Rounds
- 13 Tiley (Eng)
- 9 Olesen (Den)
- 8 Feyrsinger (Aut)
- 6 Montgomerie (Sco)
- 5 Murray (Sco)