Brett Rumford becomes the first Australian golfer in 41 years to win back-to-back tournaments on the European Tour.
Brett Rumford has won the Volvo China Open winning by four shots from Finaland’s Mikko Ilonen and making it back-to-back victories for the Western Australian after a dramatic win at last week’s Ballantine’s Championship.
Not since Jack Newton won the Dutch Open and the Benson and Hedges Festival tournament in 1972 has an Australian won back to back events on the European Tour. And like last week it was Rumford’s short game that left everyone in awe and prompted this tweet from fellow European Tour player Eduardo Molinari:
— Edoardo Molinari (@DodoMolinari) May 5, 2013
Rumford held a one stroke lead going into the final day and had extended his lead to three at the turn. A couple of birdies from Ilonen closed the gap to one stroke at the 11th hole but he was to get no closer to the Australian.
Two incredible birdie putts from Rumford at the 12th and 13th holes, combined with a bogey from Ilonen saw the lead fly out to four strokes and the Volvo China Open was Rumford’s.
To give you some idea of how good Rumford’s short game is right now, in his four rounds of 68, 67, 69 and 68 he only needed 26, 24, 24 and 26 putts for each round respectively. His scrambling statistics (up and down’s after missing the green in regulation) were 5/5, 5/7, 9/9, 5/7 for each round. No wonder Eduardo was impressed.
Rumford now leads the Race to Dubai, his three career European Tour victories have suddenly become five and he has jumped from 253rd in the Official World Golf Rankings to 76th in the space of two weeks. Rumford has also earned more money in these past two weeks than he did in the past few years.
Brett Rumford has been a stalwart on the European Tour since 2000 and has always flirted with taking his game to the next level. He admitted himself that the past few years have been trying after his wife gave birth to twins, which must be disrupting to say the least.
Golf is littered with examples of golfers taking many years to fulfil their true potential, often peaking in their late 30s or early 40s. In this sort of form, with this sort of short game, don’t be surprised if Rumford not only gives next week’s World Matchplay Championship a shake but a few more big tournaments too.
He looks certain to be in the field for The Open at Muirfield in July. Let the Aussie golf train roll on.