Rai in dreamland after thrilling Scottish Open victory
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London (AFP) –
Aaron Rai said he had fulfilled a dream in winning the EPGA Tour Scottish Open on Sunday beating Ryder Cup star and fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood in a play-off.
Rai, 25, came into the tournament on the back of a runner-up finish in last week's Irish Open.
Rai recorded a sublime seven-under par 64 in the final round only for Fleetwood to birdie the last from 15 feet and join him at 11-under par for the tournament.
It was the third time in the last four years the winner has bene decided in a play-off.
The bookmakers would have had Fleetwood as the favourite for the play-off given his pedigree but it was Rai who held his nerve to secure the £867,000 ($1.1 million) winners cheque.
Whilst he parred the first extra hole, Fleetwood failed to hole out for par from three feet.
"It's incredible, it's a dream a come true," said Rai.
"It was a shame that it finished that way and I was not expecting Tommy to make a five there.
"I think when you're in the mode of playing, you're just trying to play golf as you normally do, and it feels like it is starting to sink in now.
"I played a lot in Scotland growing up and dreamed of playing in a European Tour event in Scotland.
"To be able to play in it was incredible a couple of years ago, and to be able to go still further is an incredible feeling."
Fleetwood for his part was seething at how it ended.
"I holed one on the last to get into the play-off but my putting really cost me this week," said Fleetwood.
"That last one summed it up really.
"You always try to look at the positives but I cocked it up on the first play-off hole and that's that.
"I struggled with my game after Covid and playing in America but today I was in full control of my game."
Fleetwood heads off to this week's PGA Championship determined to improve on his putting by then.
"Golf is like spinning plates so I'll have to work on my putting a bit more," he said.
"No-one beat me over 72 holes. That's the great thing about it. I'll sulk for about five hours on the way home.
"I'm sure there are positives when I get to Wentworth (for the PGA Championship), but it just stinks right now."
© 2020 AFP