By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 12/07/20 5:28pm
Marc Warren admitted the coronavirus shutdown happened at a good time for him personally after the “refreshed” Scot landed his first victory for almost six years in Austria.
Warren was comfortably inside the world’s top 100 when he last tasted victory at the Made in Denmark in August, 2014, but at the end of last year he had tumbled out of the top 1,000 in the rankings, having made the cut only five times and recording a best finish of tied for 56th.
The 39-year-old conceded he has played “very poorly” over the last six years, so he was grateful for the enforced three-month break which allowed him to spend precious time with his young family while working on his game ready for the resumption in competition.
Warren decided to head to the dual-sanctioned event in Austria, where he carried his own bag, and it proved an inspired decision as a final-round 70 was enough for him to claim a one-shot victory, the fourth of his career on the European Tour.
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“2014 was the last time I’ve won, what’s happened on the golf course in the years since then, I’ve played very poorly,” said a relieved Warren afterwards. “The break has been unfortunate for everyone but it came at a good time for me, spending some time at home and trying to get my game ready to play golf.
“It was nice to have such a long break with the family. The last few weeks I’ve been able to get some good work done and get ready to play golf. Came out of it pretty refreshed. Carrying my bag this week probably helped tone it down a little, just going out and playing and seeing what happens. The result couldn’t have been any better.
“It’s been different playing without a caddie, the first time since 2005 – so 15 years. Hopefully this is the one and only time, no matter what I say, I do enjoy the caddie’s company, especially on days like yesterday.
“Last night I had a few nice texts from some of the caddies who are good friends, I didn’t say it, but I was thinking I could have done with one of them yesterday, it was brutal. At times like that you appreciate what a great job they do. I’m looking forward to getting a caddie on the bag again.”
Asked if he was leaderboard watching over the closing stages, he said: “I was and wasn’t. In my head the tournament doesn’t start until the back nine. A lot can happen on the front nine here, there’s a lot of water about. It was tough, the wind was swirling.
“Sebastian (Garcia Rodriguez) got off to a great start, made three at the first. He started 10 under, but I thought he started 11. I had him one shot better than he was. When we got to the last five or six, seeing how tight it was, I was just trying to commit as much as possible to the shots.
“Around the turn I hit a couple of great shots on nine and 10, made two birdies. Hit a really good iron shot on 11, but the wind didn’t move it and I made bogey. I felt like that set me back a little bit, but I holed a good birdie putt on 15 and then a good putt on 17 that was really steep downhill from about 15 feet.
“It’s massive. Going from a few hours ago I didn’t have full status, now to be in a winner’s category and plan the year a little bit is good. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, trying to hit one shape all the time and when I do play try and do that and try not to mess about too much.”
European Challenge Tour Golf
July 15, 2020, 9:00pm