Fleetwood wins Johnnie Walker playoff

The Sports NetworkAugust 25, 2013 

Tommy Fleetwood birdied the first playoff hole on Sunday to win the Johnnie Walker Championship.

Fleetwood (70) birdied the final hole of regulation to match Ricardo Gonzalez (70) and Stephen Gallacher (67) at 18-under-par 270.

The threesome returned to the 18th on PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles for the extra session. All three found the fairway off the tee, then were near the green with their second shots.

Gonzalez putted his third to five feet and Gallacher's bunker shot stopped just outside Gonzalez's ball. Fleetwood had a chance to win it then, but his 22-footer for eagle from the fringe slid by the hole.

Gallacher missed his short birdie effort on the left, then Gonzalez tried to ram his in, but missed it right.

Fleetwood didn't missed this time. He drained the short birdie try for his first European Tour title.

"I can't believe it. You never really know how close you are. I've been disappointed that I wasn't in contention the first half of the year," said Fleetwood, who had just two top-10 finishes all season before this week. "I've still been playing well, and I love this golf course."

Scott Henry (67) and Bernd Wiesberger (68) shared fourth place at minus-17. Emiliano Grillo fired a 66 to end at 16-under 272. He was joined there by Paul Waring (67) and Brett Rumford (68).

Fleetwood birdied the second, then ran off seven pars in a row from the third. He tripped to a bogey on No. 10 to slip into a share of the lead.

The Englishman stumbled to another bogey at 15, but followed with an eagle on the par-5 16th. With a chance to win in regulation, Fleetwood failed to convert his eagle chance, but he 2-putted for birdie to get into the extra session.

"In my head, 17-under was the best score I ever shot for four rounds and that was in the Dunhill. I was trying to beat that," Fleetwood admitted. "I played so well early on, the putts just didn't drop. It all got difficult in that middle section, but I didn't miss a shot the last few holes."

Gonzalez, who shared the third-round lead with Fleetwood, stumbled out of the gates with a double bogey at the first. He traded a birdie for a bogey from the second.

The Argentine, who is a four-time winner on tour, converted back-to-back birdie efforts at the seventh and eighth to get back to minus-16. Around the turn, he birdied the 11th, but gave that shot back with a bogey on No. 12.

Gonzalez birdied the 16th for the fourth day in a row. He got up and down for birdie at the last to gain a spot in the playoff.

Gallacher, who won in Dubai earlier this year, bogeyed the first, but came back with an eagle at the second. He later picked up birdies at five, eight and nine to make the turn at minus-17.

The 38-year-old Scotsman knocked his second over the green and into a bush at 11, which led to a triple bogey. But Gallacher bounced back with birdies at 14 and 16. At the last, he rolled in an 15-footer for eagle to be the first in at 18-under.

NOTES: Fleetwood earned 272,273 euros for the win ... He became the ninth first-time winner on tour this season and became the fifth player to make this tournament his first tour victory ... The tour heads to Wales next week for the ISPS Handa Wales Open, where Thongchai Jaidee won by one stroke over four players last year.

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