European Tour Year in Review: Part I

This is the first of two blogs recapping the year that was for the European Tour in 2015. This blog will cover tournaments played between December 2014 and June 2015. For coverage of the Majors, see the PGA Year in Review blogs.

 

December

Nedbank Golf ChallengeDanny Willett began the most memorable year of his career to date  by shooting an 18-under 270 and besting fellow Brit Ross Fisher by four strokes.

Alfred Dunhill Championship – South Africa’s Branden Grace won his first European Tour title in three years, easily running away from Louis Oosthuzien to post a 20-under 268, good for a seven-stroke victory.

 

January

South African Open Championship – The UK’s Andy Sullivan secured the first of his three European Tour victories in a playoff against local favorite Charl Schwarztel, finishing 11-under for the tournament.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship – A second straight first-time winner as France’s Gary Stal outdueled No. 1 Rory McIlroy by one stroke, firing a 19-under 269 highlighted by a closing-round 65.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters – Just three weeks after his first European Title in three years, Grace was back in the winner’s circle, shooting a 29-under 269 to edge Scotland’s Marc Warren by one stroke.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic – After just missing at Abu Dhabi, McIlroy showed his championship form, dominating the early going with rounds of 66, 64, and 66 and finishing three strokes ahead of Alexander Noren with a 22-under 266.

 

February

Maybank Malaysian Open – Anirban Lahiri of India won his first European Tour event, edging Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger by one stroke with a 16-under 272.

True Thailand Classic – Aussie Andrew Dodt won for the first time in five years, almost to the day, with a 1-stroke victory over Scott Hend and Thongchai Jaidee. Dodt finished 16-under.

Hero Indian Open – Lahiri racked up his second victory in three weeks, guaranteeing himself a spot in The Masters with the victory, a playoff victory over countryman Shiv Chowrasia.

Joburg Open – Sullivan made it two wins in South Africa on the year with a two-stroke victory over five other players, finishing 17-under.

March

Africa Open – After eight wins on the Sunshine Tour, Trevor Fisher Jr. broke through for the win by five strokes over Matt Ford.

Tshwane Open – Local favorite George Coetzee produced his second European Tour victory, edging fellow South African Jacques Blaauw by 1-stroke with a 14-under 266.

Trophee Hassan II – Scotland’s Richie Ramsay grabbed his first title in 2-1/2 years, winning by one stroke over Romain Wattel, who he had ironically defeated three years earlier at the Omega European Masters.

April

Shenzhen International – Kiradech Aphibarnat won for the first time in two years, taking a playoff victory over China’s Li Hao-Tong.

Volvo China Open – Chinese national Wu Ashun won the title by one stroke over David Howell just two months before his 30th birthday.

 

May

Open de Espana – The UK’s James Morrison won a tournament for the first time in five years, racing to a four-stroke win over four men and finishing 10-under.

BMW PGA Championship – Korea’s An Byeong-hun made history, becoming just the second man to win the US Amateur and British PGA Championships in his career. He won by six strokes, recording a 21-under 267.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open – In a field full of young luminaries, Soren Kjeldsen celebrated his 40th birthday in style, winning on tour for the first time in almost six years to the day. He defeated Eddie Pepperell and Bernd Wiesberger in a playoff to finish 2-strokes under par.

June

Nordea Masters – Four years removed from his last European Tour title, also at the Nodea Masters, Sweden’s Alexander Noren won the tournament again, finishing 12-under to deny Kjeldsen a second straight title.

Lyoness Open – The UK’s Chris Wood posted his first victory in 30 months, defeating Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello by two strokes with a 15-under 273.

BMW International Open – In the best strictly-European field to date, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal outdueled Sweden’s Henrik Stenson for a 1-stroke win, finishing 17-under.

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