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Lee Slattery wins Russian Open

September 7, 2015

High Legh regular Lee Slattery clinched his first European Tour title for four years after holding off Estanislao Goya and David Horsey to win the M2M Russian Open.

 

 

 

The Englishman relinquished his overnight two-shot lead after two bogeys on the front nine at the Skolkovo Golf Club near Moscow, but he battled back over the inward stretch and a crucial chip-in for birdie at the 17th helped him seal a one-stroke victory and his second victory on the European Tour.

 

After the start was delayed by two hours due to early-morning fog, Slattery opened with a confident birdie at the first only to give it back at the next, and he handed the lead to Goya when he bogeyed the sixth and Goya birdied.

 

Both converted birdie chances at the short 11th before Goya extended his advantage with another at the next, but the Argentine then showed signs of buckling under the pressure as he bogeyed two of the next three, with Slattery's birdie at 14 reclaiming his lead.

 

The 2011 Madrid Masters champion gave himself a useful cushion coming down the last with his thrilling pitch-in for a two at 17, and Goya's closing birdie was not quite enough as Slattery's scrambled par earned him the title on 15 under par. Slattery has been practising a lot at High Legh this summer putting in countless hours on the new driving range and practice greens. 

 

"It's funny, the thing that's been letting me down most has probably been my short game in the last few months, so I've worked so hard at that. To chip one in at such an important time meant so much and it shows that practice pays off eventually," he said. 

 

"At 18, I had 123 yards into a slight breeze and I just tried to chip a wedge and, as you can tell it flew a little bit further, and I pulled it a fraction as well, which is quite easy to do. It wasn't the way I wanted to finish but it's always nice to know you can hole a three foot-putt on the last to win a tournament, so that meant a lot.

 

"Holing a long putt at 14 was crucial. I know that Tano bogeyed 13 and the other two guys hit good shots into the next and I thought, 'if I can hole my putt on top of these two here, I'll have a chance', and I managed to do that and I just pushed on really. That chip in was massive."

 

A clearly-emotional Slattery dedicated the victory to his ailing father-in-law, and he added: "Going back over the last year and a half off the golf course, I've got married, had a kid and moved house. My wife's dad is very ill as well, so this is for him.

 

"It has been a difficult year so it's just nice to be able to finish the year off like this, with a win, knowing that I can plan next year now and hopefully get myself going again to where I belong."

 

Goya had to be content with outright second ahead of Horsey, who kept a bogey off his card but managed to convert only three birdie chances in a three-under 68 that lifted him to 13 under.

 

The defending champion finished a shot ahead of Michael Hoey, who charged through the field with a superb seven-birdie 64, while England's James Heath carded two eagles in an entertaining 65 that pulled him alongside Hoey, Oskar Henningsson and Pablo Martin.

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