I was thrilled to see Nacho Elvira’s patience finally pay off as he overcame a nerve-shredding finale to finally win his first European title at the Cazoo Open in Wales on Sunday.
I can only imagine what must have been going through his mind as he watched his six-shot lead going into the final round slowly disappear.
From a seemingly secure position he found himself in a play-off for his maiden tour title at the 195th attempt after a bogey at the last and I was so pleased to see the big man regain his composure to clinch victory over Justin Harding.
It is not hard to see why those doubts were creeping in as he neared the end of his round. He arrived in Newport having not recorded a top 10 finish in more than two years and had missed the cut in nine of his last 11 events.
So, taking all those factors into consideration it was understandable that the nerves would kick in but he handled it well all things considered.
After all, the pressure was off in many ways in the play-off as Nacho had a second chance at victory and it had effectively become a matchplay situation. All he had to do was better his opponent’s score and when Justin three-putted the extra hole victory was secured.
Nacho has every justification in feeling ecstatic but I can tell you this much, the experience of the weekend will have been every bit as important as the victory.
He’ll be in that position again and he will reflect on what happened in Wales, how he handled it, what he did wrong and most importantly what he has to do right the next time.
The first win is always the toughest but for some it comes easily. For guys like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, wins are commonplace. For others it doesn’t come so easily. But something tells me Nacho won’t have long to wait for his second victory.
Dodd’s Senior Open success a fairytale
Talking of guys who seem to find it easy, how about Stephen Dodd’s incredible Senior Open win at the Senior Open at Sunningdale?
With one tournament in the last 18 months he was not among the frontrunners for the event but the golf he played to edge out Miguel Angel Jimenez was astounding.
I’m in no rush to head for the Legends Tour just yet but I will be 47 at the end of the year so it’s only natural to check out the future competition and I’ll definitely be looking to give it a go when I’m eligible.
My interest comes from being able to gauge the guys who are there now such as Thomas Bjorn, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Paul Lawrie. They are the guys I played with for years on the European Tour and watching them play gives me a rough idea of what’s required.
When I look at senior golf at professional level there are a few areas which stand out as being vitally important if you want to play.
You have to keep the ball speed and right now I’m happy with where I’m at on that score. The field is full of quality players so you have to still have that desire to go out and compete and I think I’ve got that.
The physical attributes are important too but above all else I’s say a good long game is key. I believe I’m above average on that front.
All being well, Legends Tour golf is in my future but hopefully that will be five or six years from now.
A world class field has assembled for the Olympics
With a smaller field and the fact we’ve lost the world number one Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau due to positive Covid tests that the golf in the Olympics would stand up to scrutiny but having checked out the field I’ve decided I will tune in.
Rahm would have been favourite but the Belgians, South Africans, Britain and Northern Ireland all look good too while you can never rule out the Americans and Patrick Reed is a great replacement.
We’ve seen from the Ryder Cup how patriotic and passionate he can be and I expect he, like Jorge Campillo, will be determined to make the most of being the late replacements for DeChambeau and Rahm.
I know how proud Justin Rose was at winning gold five years ago in Rio. Here’s hoping either Tommy Fleetwood or Paul Casey can bring it home to Britain once more.