Monday, July 13, 2009

Dougherty gets Top Spot

England’s Nick Dougherty has been named The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month for June after his memorable, emotionally-charged victory at the BMW International Open. Dougherty, who will receive a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne along with an engraved alms dish in recognition of his achievement, secured his third European Tour victory at the Golfclub München Eichenried with a brilliant final round of eight under par 64 to win by a stroke from Argentina’s Rafa Echenique, who scored an unbelievable albatross two on the par five 72nd hole to push Dougherty all the way. But the Englishman retained his nerve to finish one clear of Echenique and three ahead of Retief Goosen as he took the €333,330 first prize and moved into the top 20 in The Race to Dubai. Dougherty’s win in Germany was hugely poignant because it was his first win since his mother, Ennis, passed away last year, and the emotive element to his win made it all the more remarkable. “I just collapsed after my Mum died,” Dougherty said of his form and confidence after winning in Munich. “Up until that point I was playing pretty well. I was going to make The Ryder Cup Team, I had just started to break into the Majors, led the US Open and finished seventh having played with Tiger Woods – everything felt very comfortable.“Then my world turned upside down in 2008. Having been blessed to not having anything really significant in a bad way happen to me, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I wasn't prepared for it, and it was horrible. “But I sat down and, in time, started to heal and I collected myself and I realised that I have potential to be a great player. There are things I have to work on, but days like I had in Munich are not a coincidence. It was a long time coming, but it came at the right time and to be recognised as the Golfer of the Month just tops it off nicely.” There were several outstanding achievements by European Tour Members in June, in addition to Dougherty’s triumph. Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl defied the odds to secure a maiden victory in The Celtic Manor Wales Open; Christian Nilsson of Sweden radically altered his career path by winning a place on Tour with his win at the dual-ranking SAINT-OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC, while Mathias Grönberg of Sweden flew the European flag in the USA with his victory at the Melwood Prince George’s County Open on the Nationwide Tour. Dougherty, though, was the unanimous choice of the voting panel comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers, television and radio commentators. Dougherty joins Rory McIlroy (January), Geoff Ogilvy (February), Søren Kjeldsen (March), Angel Cabrera (April) and Shane Lowry (May) as a winner of The 2009 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Award. The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year will be selected following the Dubai World Championship at the Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, from November 19-22, 2009, where the winner of The Race to Dubai will be confirmed.

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