The 50th anniversary tournament surely ranks as one of the greatest European Tour events of all time. What made this championship was the play-off, which saw Lin Wen-tang become the first Asian player to win the title since Kang Wooksoon in 1998. After pulling his drive into trouble on the first extra hole, Lin, with his opponents safely in the fairway, looked dead and buried. With nothing to lose, the Taiwanese pulled out a short iron and fired his approach through the foliage, over the greenside bunker to within four feet of the cup. It was nothing short of miraculous.
Standing on the 18th tee for the third time of the afternoon, it was Rory McIlroy’s turn to find trouble. Using his hybrid, his drive bounced off the OB fence that lines the left side of the hole and finished in a horrible position at the bottom of a tree, not far from where Lin had made his great escape. But then it was McIlroy’s turn to produce some magic. With 118 yards to go, but with no sight of the pin, the 19-yearold snap-hooked a gap-wedge loaded with spin that somehow caught the back of the green and stopped within 12 feet of the flag. But only for a moment, because Lin then pulled off another gem, firing his own wedge to within inches for a cast-iron birdie. Whipping his cap off to the roar of the crowds, it was this shot, rather than his previous miracle approach that showed his sheer determination to win.
Up at the green, McIlroy’s effort sailed past, and after knocking it in for Par, the stage was set for Lin, 50 years after Mr Lu had won the inaugural championship, to tap his in for the greatest of victories.