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Golf Australia Express : Issue 14
ITWAS another first- timer added to the 2011 winner’s list. This time it was Lee Slattery, 33, who captured his maiden European Tour title at the Bankia Madrid Masters. Playing in his 183rd European Tour event, the little known Englishman battled nerves throughout the final day to eventually win by one shot over Italian Lorenzo Gagli. And the newly crowned Tour winner is likely to remember his seesawing Sunday round of 71 for years. Holding his first 54-hole lead heading into the final round, Slattery looked shaky early on at El Encin Golf Hotel. Bogeys at the 3rd and 5th holes allowed Gagli and Argentine veteran Cesar Monasterio to take the lead. But digging deep, Slattery steadied the ship with five straight pars before regaining control with birdies at 11, 13, 14 and 15. The birdie run gave the Challenge Tour graduate a three-shot lead with as many to play, a lead he held on to heading to the last. But there was still plenty of drama to follow at the par-5 18th. Channeling his inner-Van de Velde, Slattery did his best to lose the lead. His second shot found a fairway bunker. He then pushed his approach right, into the water beside the green. But a decent chip left him with two putts from 10 feet which proved enough to secure the win. Despite his double-bogey seven at the last, Slattery finished 15-under in the Spanish capital and gained his largest European Tour prize of €166,660. “I’ve never shaken so much in my life,” he said after the win. “I just stood over that putt and the hole looked tiny. I was strangling that putter because that one putt is a life-changing putt. “It means absolutely everything to me. “I remember when I got my Tour card for the first time and my dad said to me ‘You haven’t made it yet, you’ve got to win an event’, and he’s kind of right. “ The belief I’ve got now after winning is tremendous and I want to win more.” Gagli, 25, finished second on 14-under leaving Monasterio and home favourite Eduardo De La Riva tied for third at 12-under. OTG WHAT JUST HAPPENED ON THE EUROPEAN TOUR FINAL STANDINGS 1 LEE SLATTERY ENG -15 € 166,660 2 LORENZO GAGLI ITA -14 € 111,110 T3 EDUARDO DE LA RIVA ESP -12 € 56,300 T3 CESAR MANASTERIO ARG -12 € 56,300 5 THOMAS AIKEN RSA -10 € 42,400 T6 GONZO FDEZ-CASTANO ESP -9 € 26,480 T6 OSCAR FLOREN SWE -9 € 26,480 T6 PETER HANSON SWE -9 € 26,480 T6 BENJAMIN HERBERT FRA -9 € 26,480 T6 FRANCESCO MOLINARI ITA -9 € 26,480 WRAP THE MADRID MASTERS MAIDEN