It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
Eddie Pepperell takes maiden victory on 129th start
Eddie Pepperell is a winner on the European Tour after holding off Oli Fisher while Paul Lawrie added a refreshing chapter to the gloomy chapter of slow play.
So what happened at the Qatar Masters?
On his 129th European Tour start Eddie Pepperell claimed his first win on the European Tour after holding off Oli Fisher in Doha.M
Pepperell only had four bogeys all week, including a brilliant one on Saturday (see Moments of the Week below), and a bounce-back birdie at 16 proved to be the difference.
In the end Fisher, who reached the turn in three over, had an eight-foot putt on the last for a sixth birdie on the birdie and to take it into extra holes but it slipped by. Pepperell tapped in for a 70 to make it the third win by an Englishman this season.
Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult was third while Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who came through Q School, was in a share of fourth.
Pepperell lost his card in 2016 when he missed the cut in Portugal after driving out of bounds on his last hole but, after regaining it at Q School, he enjoyed a brilliant 2017 year with seven top 10s.
For Fisher it was a first top three since the 2014 Africa Open.
“When Oli was over his putt it ran through my mind that I had a play-off before and lost it. I won one on the Challenge Tour when Jeppe Huldahl holes a good putt on the last to force a play-off and I thought, ‘this is going to a play-off here’. And then when Oli missed I thought ‘my parents are going to be going mental’ so there was a lot going on mentally before that tap-in” – Eddie Pepperell
Not a week goes by without the subject of slow play coming up. Everyone knows who the slow coaches are but nobody is willing to point the finger.
Two-time Qatar champion Paul Lawrie tells it like it is and he wasn’t holding back after a slow day on Friday.
Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalised then as soon as ref gone its back to taking forever again. We need a better system— Paul Lawrie (@PaulLawriegolf) February 23, 2018
And if you were wondering if he was talking about Aaron Rai or Marcel Schneider then this reply was pretty clear.
Rai. His behaviour today was unacceptable , never ready to play and took forever before ref arrived then all of a sudden he was ready and hitting it in 20 seconds when he was on the clock. Very poor but no surprise https://t.co/VQU5kwk4yu— Paul Lawrie (@PaulLawriegolf) February 23, 2018
Moments of the Week
"I probably owe that hole something!" 👀— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) February 25, 2018
Pepperell and hole 12 had an interesting relationship this week... pic.twitter.com/GxJRSkpxfV