Drummond shoots his way out of obscurity

It was Ernie Els who said that the Volvo PGA Championship is second only to the Open in terms of importance on this side of the Atlantic. When it comes to fairy tales, the West Course yesterday produced quite the equal of the events down at Sandwich last summer.

It was Ernie Els who said that the Volvo PGA Championship is second only to the Open in terms of importance on this side of the Atlantic. When it comes to fairy tales, the West Course yesterday produced quite the equal of the events down at Sandwich last summer.

Ben Curtis was ranked 396th in the world when he walked off with the claret jug. Scott Drummond was, until this morning, ranked 435th in the world. Els admitted to not having heard of the man but Drummond took the Ernie route to victory. The South African opened with a 64 on Thursday but then faded over the final three rounds.

Drummond, playing with a maturity far beyond his experience, closed with the same number to leave the established stars behind. It was a brilliant round. It would have been a brilliant round if played by Els, Vijay Singh or anyone else of that ilk. For the 30-year-old rookie to produce it on the final day of the final Volvo PGA was staggering.

Angel Cabrera was the runner-up for the second time, finishing two strokes behind Drummond's 19 under par tally, which equalled the tournament record set by Anders Hansen in 2002. Hansen is the only other player to have made the PGA this first title on the European Tour and by coincidence scored a 64 yesterday as well to tie for fourth place alongside Darren Clarke and Nick Faldo, who had a turn-the-clocks-back 66, all one behind Joakim Haeggman.

Like Curtis, the size of Drummond's achievement is measured by the names he defeated. But who is he? One of the reasons there may have been record crowds is that he can claim supporters from all over the country. He was born in Bayston Hill, near Shrewsbury, but now lives in Yelverton in Devon.

Although he played amateur golf for England, like Sandy Lyle before him, Drummond became another Shropshire lad to elect to play for the land of his father, Scotland, on becoming a professional. That was back in 1996 but it was only after a successful season on the Challenge Tour last year that he made it on to the main circuit full time.

His rookie season was not exactly a great success to date, having missed the cut in eight of his 11 events. He was the fourth reserve for the PGA when entries closed but found out he was playing a week before the tournament. This was the first week that his month-old daughter, Kiera, had joined him and his wife, Claire, at a tournament.

After rolling in a 10-foot putt at the final green, Drummond appeared as stunned as everyone else. "I really can't comprehend it," he said. "It was surreal out there. I had to remind myself that it was the Sunday of the PGA."

Only Arnold Palmer, at Royal St George's in 1975, had previously won the PGA on his debut. The trophy here is pretty big but the first cheque is bigger. Drummond received £419,778. "It's a little bit more than I've won in the past," he said. His career earnings on the European Tour had amounted to only £35,000 and the his biggest previous cheque was one for around £14,000 on the Challenge Tour.

"I wasn't thinking about winning, or the big pay cheques," he said. "But, obviously, things are going to change now. It's always expensive to play on the tour as a rookie and at times you wonder what you are going to do next year. With Kiera coming along, obviously I wanted to be financially secure. You couldn't ask for me. It's a dream."

There will be a place in the Open for him now, among other benefits, but that could not have been further from Drummond's mind as the started the final round a day after modestly celebrating his 30th birthday. He was playing alongside the big-hitting Cabrera, who duly made the first two par-fives, the fourth and the 12th, look puny with a pair of eagles.

Drummond, not to be outdone, would birdie all four of the par-fives and make four other birdies without dropping a shot. Cabrera made few errors, but his bogeys at the short holes, the fifth and the 14th, proved costly. After Drummond had holed a 45-footer on the 13th green to tie, Cabrera left the 14th green now one behind.

Drummond's amazing putting continued at the 17th, where he rolled in a 40-footer when it looked as if the Argentinian would draw level. Again at the last, Cabrera was pin high in two, Drummond down the fairway after his drive finished in the rough. But with a superb wedge shot to six feet, Drummond put the pressure back on Cabrera, whose chip ran on 15 feet past the pin. His birdie effort finished on the lip and then Drummond had two for it.

Not that he knew. "I promised my caddie, Kevin Smith, that I wouldn't look at the leaderboard all day, not even on the last green. I could sense from the gallery that I was near the lead or tired, but obviously when the putt went in I knew from the roar and Kevin's reaction that I had won."

Among those waiting on the 18th was his 70-year-old father, George, who supported Drummond throughout his amateur career and on the far from lucrative tours he played before this season. "All he said was, 'You've made my life'," Drummond said.

His sports psychologist was pleased, too. Jeff Pettitt had put a £10 bet on Drummond at 500-1. When the player, by no means a gambler and never having bet on himself before, discovered the odds, he also had a tenner. A canny investment if ever there was one.

FINAL SCORES FROM WENTWORTH

269
S Drummond 66 71 68 64

271
A Cabrera (Arg) 67 69 68 67

272
J Haeggman (Swe) 68 67 70 67

273
A Hansen (Den) 67 69 73 64; N Faldo 70 69 68 66; D Clarke 68 67 71 67.

275
E Els (SA) 64 71 72 68

276
M A Jimenez (Sp) 65 74 70 67; T Levet (Fr) 72 66 70 68; D Fichardt (SA) 68 69 68 71

277
C Hanell (Swe) 65 73 72 67; A Scott (Aus) 69 74 67 67; R Goosen (SA) 68 74 67 68; J Rose 67 66 72 72

278
V Singh (Fij) 66 73 71 68; M Ilonen (Fin) 69 72 67 70

279
P Fulke (Swe) 72 69 68 70

280
P O'Malley (Aus) 69 74 69 68; T Bjorn (Den) 72 66 69 73

281
S Gallacher 74 70 69 68; M Vibe-Hastrup (Den) 70 72 69 70; R Green (Aus) 67 75 69 70; P Hanson (Swe) 70 73 68 70

282
S Khan 68 72 72 70; P Hedblom (Swe) 69 68 74 71; A Wall 68 72 70 72

283
S Lyle 71 70 74 68; D Gilford 67 72 75 69; G McDowell 71 73 70 69; N O'Hern (Aus) 71 73 70 69; E Romero (Arg) 69 71 73 70; B Lane 72 72 69 70; M Fraser (Aus) 71 73 69 70; J-F Remesy (Fr) 71 69 72 71; S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 71 67 74; P Price 70 65 73 75

284
S Webster 71 69 73 71; P Lonard (Aus) 69 72 72 71; D Park 72 70 71 71; M Siem (Ger) 69 67 75 73; P Casey 68 73 70 73

285
Peter Lawrie 69 73 73 70; S Dodd 65 71 77 72; R Sterne (SA) 69 73 71 72; J Bickerton 68 73 71 73; J M Olazabal (Sp) 72 72 68 73

286
D Howell 72 69 74 71; M Lafeber (Neth) 68 71 75 72; C Montgomerie 70 70 73 73; R Rock 72 72 69 73; C Kelly 69 71 70 76

287
M Roe 70 73 72 72; I Poulter 68 68 77 74; I Garrido (Sp) 67 76 69 75

288
T Jaidee (Thai) 69 71 75 73. 289 K Ferrie 73 70 70 76; B Davis 75 68 68 78. 290 J Kingston (SA) 69 73 75 73; M Tunnicliff 69 74 72 75; M Olander (Swe) 70 74 70 76; N Colsaerts (Bel) 67 72 73 78

291
R Russell 71 73 75 72; D Higgins 73 71 71 76. 292 R Jacquelin (Fr) 71 71 77 73; B Austin 71 72 75 74; R Gonzalez (Arg) 72 71 68 81

293
P Wesselingh 71 71 78 73; P Lawrie 72 71 76 74; J Spence 70 72 76 75; G Orr 70 74 74 75

294
R Drummond 74 69 76 75; F Andersson (Swe) 69 74 73 78

299
J Sandelin (Swe) 71 72 77 79

(GB or Irl unless stated)

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