Jorge Campillo and David Drysdale each had time to clear their minds during the playoff at the European Tour’s Commerical bank Qatar Masters, a sudden-death affair that went a not-so-sudden five extra holes.
Campillo, a 33-year-old from Spain, was trying to forget his frustrating finish at Education City Golf Club, in which he went bogey/double bogey/par over the final three holes to lose a two-stroke lead and close with a one-over 72.
Drysdale, a 44-year-old from Scotland, was trying to block out the fact that, in making his 498th start on tour, he was on the precipice of his first win, with his wife, Vicky, walking with him as his caddie.
In spite of the pressure both golfers were feeling, each turned in stellar play in their extra trips down the par-4 18th hole, making birdies the first two times and pars the next two (impressive considering only six birdies were made on the hole the entire final round).
On the fifth, and likely last go around on 18 before darkness would force a Monday finish, Campillo rolled in a 25-footer for birdie only to see Drysdale fail to match it, the Scotsman pushing his birdie effort left of the hole.
“You’ve got to be patience … you’ve got to try hard,” Campillo said. “It’s a tough win, but I’m glad I pulled it off.”
Campillo could emphasize with Drysdale regarding waiting a long time to try to get your first win. The former first-team All-American at Indiana had gone 229 starts on the European Tour before winning the Trophée Hassan II last April.
The 54-hole leader in Qatar, Campillo looked like he had found his stride mid-round, making birdies on the 10th and 13th hole to get to 16 under par and push his lead to two strokes over Denmark’s Jeff Whither and three over Drysdale. When a bad drive right led to bogey on the par-4 16th, it seemed alright since Whither made bogey as well. An even worse drive right on the par-4 17th, however, forced Campillo to punch back to the fairway from the desert. His third shot missed the green, and when he failed to get up and down to save bogey, the double dropped him back to a tie with Drysdale at 13 under, who was finishing up a even-par 71. (Whither made bogey on 17 to fall to 12 under.)
Campillo had a chance to close it out in regulation on the 18th, a 25-foot birdie putt finishing one revolution shot of the hole. “I know I still was in the game and had to play it out,” he said.
The stellar back and forth in the playoff was impressive. Drysdale knocked it close for birdie putts inside 10 feet on the first two extra holes. Campillo, meanwhile, made putts from outside 20 feet both times to keep himself in the game.
“I’m just so proud right now of the way I played in the playoff,” he said. “I hardly missed a shot and I was able to make some putts.”
As for Drysdale, he hugged Vicky as he walked off a runner-up on the European Tour for a fourth time in his career. Yes, he wouldn’t have been in the playoff if not for Campillo’s mistakes down the stretch. But he had to be wondering how many more times he get such a realistic chance to fulfill his life’s dream.
However, it would have to wait.