Slattery holds nerve to win Russian Open

CHESHIRE’S Lee Slattery claimed an emotional second European Tour title at the M2M Russian Open, where he held his nerve with a crucial par putt at the final hole to emerge from an enthralling finale with a one shot victory.

LEE SLATTERY

LEE SLATTERY

The Englishman entered the final day with a two stroke advantage and started in impressive fashion with a birdie at the first hole, but he soon found himself over par with bogeys at the second and sixth holes.

The 37 year old dug deep, however, and as a host of challengers began to emerge, he picked up three shots on the way home – including a hugely important holed chip at the 17th – before sinking a knee-jangling three footer at the 18th for a par which earned him a two under 69, a 15 under total and a first win since the 2011 Madrid Masters.

Slattery was visibly emotional in a post-round interview and dedicated the win to the ill father of his wife Faye.

Argentinian Estanislao Goya, playing alongside Slattery, held the lead for large portions of the final day but even a birdie at the last was not enough as he finished in outright second place on 14 under following a three under 68.

Last year’s champion of this event, David Horsey from Styal, finished in third place on his own on 13 under after a three under final round 68 while the 2013 winner Michael Hoey was one of four players a shot further back on 12 under par, sharing fourth place.

Slattery said: “It’s funny, the thing that’s been letting me down most has probably been my short game in the last few months, so I’ve worked so hard at that. To chip one in at such an important time meant so much and it shows that practice pays off eventually.

“At 18, I had 123 yards into a slight breeze and I just tried to chip a wedge and, as you can tell it flew a little bit further, and I pulled it a fraction as well, which is quite easy to do.

“It wasn’t the way I wanted to finish but it’s always nice to know you can hole a three foot putt on the last to win a tournament, so that meant a lot.

“Holing the long putt at 14 was crucial. I know that Tano (Estanislao Goya) bogeyed 13 and the other two guys hit good shots into the next and I thought, ‘if I can hole my putt on top of these two here, I’ll have a chance’, and I managed to do that and I just pushed on really. That chip in was massive.

“Going back over the last year and a half off the golf course, I’ve got married, had a kid and moved house. My wife’s dad is very ill as well, so this is for him.

“It’s just nice to be able to finish the year off like this with a win, knowing that I can plan next year now and hopefully get myself going again to where I belong, I feel.”

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