Ramsay survives wild day, wins Trophee Hassan II
Agadir, Morocco (SportsNetwork.com) - Richie Ramsay had a roller coaster day en route to a 3-under 69 in Sunday's final round, but he was able to hang on and win by one shot at the Trophee Hassan II.
Ramsay, who held a share of the second- and third-round leads, finished the week at 10-under-par 278, one stroke better than runner-up Romain Wattel. The victory is the third of Ramsay's career and his first since the 2012 European Masters.
Wattel held the outright lead at one point Sunday, but he could not hold off Ramsay. Wattel, a third-round co-leader alongside Ramsay and Andrew McArthur, shot a 2-under 70 to finish alone in second at 9-under 279.
Needing a win at Golf du Palais Royal this week in order to earn an invite to the Masters, George Coetzee (70) fell just short and ended in a tie for third at 8-under. Joining him there was Chris Wood (67), Pablo Larrazabal (68), Mikael Lundberg (69), Jaco Van Zyl (70) and Kevin Phelan (70).
By the time Ramsay and the other third-round co-leaders were teeing off, five others joined the group at 7-under, making it an eight-way tie for the lead early on.
Starting on three, Ramsay looked like he was poised to run away with the tournament as he ripped off four straight birdies from No. 3, including a birdie conversion on a putt from just off the green on five.
With Wattel making birdie on three, Ramsay's lead was up to three shots through six holes.
Then the wheels started to come off for Ramsay. His birdie streak came to an abrupt halt as he tripped to a bogey on seven and the Scotsman followed that up with a brutal triple-bogey on eight. Just like that Ramsay's lead was gone and he dropped two shots back to minus-7 as Wattel made a gain on seven to take the lead at 9-under.
"I made six, as simple as that," Ramsay said about the eighth hole. "I just didn't execute the shot the way I wanted to. Hit a poor chip, it came back in the divot, wouldn't come out, chipped on and two putts. Easy six."
Luckily for Ramsay the mess on eight did not discourage him and it was his last blemish of the day. Four holes later Ramsay joined a large group at minus-8 with a gain on 12.
"I stood over the putt on the 12th hole and I just thought my putter feels absolutely great, I could see all the lines," said Ramsay.
Ramsay strung together two more gains on 13 and 14, making it three straight. After blowing his 3-shot lead, Ramsay had come roaring back to take the outright advantage once again.
From there 31-year-old never relinquished his lead again. While Wattel bogeyed 14 and birdied 17 to finish one back at minus-9, Ramsay ended with four straight pars, including a clutch save on 17, to seal his title.
"I thought 'just go for it, this is your time,'" Ramsay stated. "Pretty much took it by the scruff of the neck (on 13 and 14) and the 7-iron on the last is probably one of the best shots I've ever hit in terms of visualization and execution, it was just perfect."
NOTES: Ramsay also won the 2010 South African Open Championship ... This is the first of six events this season that Ramsay even finished in the money. He missed four cuts and withdrew from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic prior to this week ... Wattel was seeking his first career win on the European Tour ... Ramsay earned 250,000 euros with this victory ... The European Tour is off next week and the Masters is the following week as Bubba Watson returns as the defending champion looking for his third career win in Augusta.