Richie Ramsay captured the biggest prize of his professional golf career on Sunday, three weeks before he returns to the scene of his greatest amateur success to get married.
The 29-year-old Scotsman shot a five-under-66 to win the European Masters by four strokes. Ramsay was never behind in the final round in the sun-bathed Swiss Alps to finish on 16-under 267. Four players tied for second.
“It’s just incredible, the whole day went to plan,” said Ramsay, adding that the win would move his career “up a notch. It definitely pushes me to another level.”
Ramsay rated his second European Tour success above his triumph in the 2006 US Amateur Championship, which he won at Hazeltine, Minnesota.
“It’s a bigger win than the US Amateur,” said Ramsay, who is now based in Atlanta, Georgia. “If you look at the field and the place and the way that I did it.”
His career-high prize of 350,000 euros (US$440,000) is a timely contribution to his forthcoming marriage.
On Sept. 21, he will wed his American fiance, Angela Hudinski, at the Hazeltine club where they met during the tournament that launched his international reputation.
“I met Angela there and we’re going back there to get married,” Ramsay said, joking that their guests would now expect him to fund the drinks bill.
Ramsay will get married as a top-100 player. His second European Tour victory, after the South African Open in 2009, is set to move him up the world rankings from No. 110 into the top 70.
He had never before led a tour event after 54 holes, and countryman Paul Lawrie was favored on Sunday as he sought back-to-back victories after winning the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Lawrie’s challenge faded and he shot 70 for a share of sixth place in his last tournament before joining Europe’s team for the Ryder Cup from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30 at Medinah, Illinois.
Second place was shared by Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden, Marcus Fraser of Australia, France’s Romain Wattel and Danny Willett of England, who played in the final threesome with Ramsay and Lawrie.
After three days of rain, fog and low temperatures, Ramsay finally played in warmth and sunshine on the Seve Ballesteros-designed course circled by snow-capped mountains.
Ramsay started with a one-stroke lead and was quickly joined at 12 under by Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion who made eagle as the younger Scot made birdie.