Marc Warren is on the up again after 'massive' win

Scot lands his fourth European Tour title with Austrian Open victory

Marc Warren poses with the trophy after winning the Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club, near Vienna. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Marc Warren poses with the trophy after winning the Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club, near Vienna. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

He's landed bigger wins, notably an historic World Cup success alongside Colin Montgomerie and victory on home soil in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. But it was no surprise to hear Marc Warren describe his latest triumph as "massive".

The 39-year-old Glaswegian was speaking after recording a one-shot win in the Austrian Open, a co-sanctioned event that marked the return of both the European Tour and Challenge Tour after a four-month shutdown due to the coronavirus, at Diamond Country Club, near Vienna.

Helped by two birdies in the last four holes in the final round, Warren signed off with a gutsy two-under 70 for a 13-under-par 275 total, pipping Germany's Marcel Schneider for a first prize worth around £76,000 in the dual ranking tournament.

Adding to a great week for the Scottish contingent, two of Warren's compatriots, Craig Howie and Connor Syme, finished joint-fourth on 10-under after closing efforts of 69 and 72 respectively.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

It was Warren's fourth European Tour triumph but first in just under six years, having seen his game gradually go off the boil since landing the Made in Denmark event. He'd slipped to 1,258th in the world rankings, having been inside the top 50 around this time five years ago.

He finished 130th in the Race to Dubai in 2018 to lose his full playing privileges on the main tour before ending up outside the top 200 on the money-list last season. He was on a slippery slope but, in one fell swoop, has turned things around.

Warren’s win has secured a category that means he'll get in most main tour events for the rest of the 2020 season and next year as well. In short, it's onwards and upwards again.

“It’s massive," he admitted. "Going from a few hours ago I didn’t have full status, now to be in a winner’s category and plan the year a little bit is good. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and try not to mess about too much.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

"Since my last win in 2014, I've played poorly. The break has been unfortunate for everyone but it came at a good time for me, spending some time at home and trying to get my game ready to play golf. The last few weeks I’ve been able to get some good work done and get ready to play golf. It was nice to have such a long break with the family and I came out of it pretty refreshed."

Warren, who was tied for the lead at the start of the day, carded six birdies in the final round, which turned into an exciting tussle down the stretch with Spaniard Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez. The pair were tied for the lead with two holes to play before the Scot rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the 17th before Garcia Rodriguez found water at the last with his tee shot.

“I was and wasn’t (watching the leaderboard)," said Warren. "In my head, the tournament doesn’t start until the back nine. When we got to the last five or six holes, seeing how tight it was, I was just trying to commit as much as possible to the shots.I holed a good birdie putt on 15 and then a good putt on 17 that was really steep downhill from about 15 feet."

Warren's welcome return to winning ways was secured in unusual circumstances as he carried his own clubs after his caddie, Ken Herring, was unable to be at his side due to a Covid-19 test not coming back in time. "The result couldn't have been any better and that probably helped tone it down a little as I was just going out and playing and seeing what happens," said Warren.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“It’s been different (playing without a caddie), the first time since 2005 – so 15 years. Hopefully this is the one and only time, no matter what I say, I do enjoy the caddie’s company. Last night I had a few nice texts from some of the caddies who are good friends, I didn’t say it, but I was thinking I could have done with one of them yesterday, it was brutal. At times like that you appreciate what a great job they do. I’m looking forward to getting a caddie on the bag again."

The victory has lifted Warren to 63rd in this season's Race to Dubai rankings, with the main tour set to resume in full with the upcoming Betfred British Masters at Close House, near Newcastle - the first of six successive events in a new UK Swing.

The Scot also now tops the Challenge Tour rankings, which saw Howie jump 11 spots to eighth as the 25-year-old Peebles man signed off with a second bogey-free effort in four days.

"I'm really pleased with my week," said Howie. "It wasn’t an amazing ball striking week, but I plotted my way round pretty well.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

"I had low expectations coming in, so to contend was really satisfying. It’s good to take some momentum into next week and hopefully push to get another Scottish win on the board!"

Syme, meanwhile, picked up three shots in the last four holes as he also capped a good week's work, another one at this venue after finishing second in the Shot Clock Masters two seasons ago. The Fifer, who turned 25 on Saturday, jumped six spots to 55th in the Race to Dubai after recording his fourth top-15 finish in eight starts this season.

After leading at the halfway stage, 56-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez had to settle for a share of eighth spot on eight-under, finishing seven shots ahead of Craig Ross (73) while a closing 79 left Scott Henry on seven-over.

The Euram Bank Open, another dual-ranking event in Austria, is next up, though whether Warren stays on for that is now unlikely due to the fact he has teed up that Betfred British Masters date along with compatriot Callum Fyfe, who won last Monday's qualifier at the Northumberland venue.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

All in all, it's been a successful return from lockdown for Scottish players, with Gemma Dryburgh also having landed back-to-back wins in the new Justin Rose Ladies Series, including the first professional women's event at Royal St George's.

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy YatesEditorial Director