Classic Win for Norman
LONDON – Australian Greg Norman held off a brilliant counter attack by Scotsman Brian Marchbank to win the State Express Classic by one shot at the Belfry, Sutton Coldfield.
After Marchbank, 24, finished with three birdies in the last four holes, Norman ended up behind the 18th green, needing to get down in two more strokes to win the $22,700 top prize.
It was a tough shot from the short fringe down a hill, but Norman, 27, put his ball within three feet of the hole and safely putted out for victory with a final round of 69 and a 13-under-par total of 279.
Marchbank, the former Walker Cup International tournament winner and the son of the Gleneagles professional, collected $15,100 for second place after a 67, the lowest round of the day.
It was by far the biggest check of Marchbank’s three year professional career and ended a dreadful slump for the young Scot.
He has made the last day only three times previously this season and lagged in 110th place on the European money list with meager winnings of only $1,504.
Norman thought he had a two-stroke margin as he stood on the 18th tee and he said there should have been a scoreboard nearby to let him know the exact position.
“It wasn’t until I got to the green that I knew I needed a par-4 to win” Norman said. “It was a terrible shock.”
Marchbank matched Norman’s 35 to the turn, helped by an eagle-three at the eight, and was still three shots behind.
But then he blazed home in 32 with four birdies, three of them in the last four holes.
He narrowly missed another eagle attempt at the 17th but on the last hole he rolled home a 20-footer to deprive Spaniard José Maria Canizares a share of second place.