Slattery holds on for victory at Madrid Masters
Lee Slattery of England nervously sealed a one-shot win in the Madrid Masters on Sunday for his first ever title after seven years on the European Tour.
No. 328-ranked Slattery carded a 1-under 71 in the final round to finish on 15 under for the tournament and hold off the challenge from Italian Lorenzo Gagli, despite wobbling with a double-bogey 7 on the last hole.
''I had a two-footer on the last to win and I have never shaken so much in my life,'' Slattery said. ''I've been out here for seven years and now I believe I can win. That has been the biggest problem and this (win) for me is huge.''
The nearly calamitous finish was perhaps understandable - the ?166,660 ($222,908) top prize more than doubles the 33-year-old's earnings on the European Tour this year.
Slattery had also started shakily. His 2-shot overnight lead disappeared as he bogeyed the par 3s at Nos. 3 and 5 before recovering with a birdie at No. 7.
Four birdies in five holes after the turn helped him to a 3-shot lead going into the last - but it was only just enough.
Slattery hit his second on the par-5 No. 18 into a bunker and put his third shot into the water, but gathered himself to pitch his fifth within 15 feet for a two-putt finish.
''The problem is there's been so much sand in the bunkers that if you get in them you pretty much know you're going to get an iffy lie and getting to the bottom of the ball is so hard,'' he said. ''It actually came out OK. I managed to get away with it.''
The win gave Slattery his first European Tour victory at the 179th attempt and ensures he will retain his card for next year.
Defending champion and No.1-ranked Luke Donald failed to mount a serious challenge, dropping three shots in the last five holes - including a double-bogey at No.16 - to finish 8 under for the tournament.
Donald's frustrations on the back nine were symbolized by his travails on No. 16 where he was 3 over across four rounds.
Coupled with a bogey two holes earlier on No. 14, Donald could only manage a level-par 72 after a promising front nine.