It wasn’t easy, but 31 year-old Fabrizio Zanotti pulled off a bunch of firsts at The BMW International Open on Sunday afternoon. He won his first European Tour event at the Golf Club Gut Larchenhof in Cologne Germany, his first playoff, and becomes the first player from Paraguay to win a major tour tournament.
Zanotti fired a pair of 7-under par 65′s on the weekend to set the clubhouse lead at -19 under par on the par 72 layout, only to be tied by three other golfers.
The world’s number two, Henrik Stenson from Sweden, Frenchman, Gregory Havret, and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello all were able to get into the playoffs that started at the 18th hole. All are former winners on the European Tour with the exception of Zanotti.
They played the 18th hole twice, the 17th, the 18th again, and the winner emerged on the second playing of the 17th hole. Gregory Havret was eliminated on the second playoff hole, Cabrera-Bello on the fourth.
Henrik Stenson hit his drive in the water on the final hole, hit into a bunker and waved the white flag, giving the win to the Paraguayan after five tough holes.
Thai veteran, Tongchai Jaidee, Simon Dyson, from England, and Welshman, Jamie Donaldson all missed the playoff and finished one stroke back at 18-under par.
The big disappointment of the day was Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal who shot a 63 on Friday, and let one get away on Sunday putting an even par 72 on his scorecard.
Fabrizio Zanotti battled three veterans and a cold rain that continued to play havoc with this event to notch that first win. He is from Asunción, and makes his residence in the Paraguayan capital.
“I was patient. I tried to play shot by shot in the play-off. I’m just very happy,” Zanotti said.
“I knew today that if I made a good run I’d have a good chance. Today was my day.
“I’ve been working a lot and trying to build my confidence to get to this moment and finally I’m here.”
Today’s playoff appearance, and final round 67 should be proof positive that Henrik Stenson is starting find his golf game, and in particular, his putter.
Just in time, I might add for the Open Championship coming up in three weeks.