Scotland’s Marc Warren captured his first European Tour title in six years on Sunday with a one-shot victory in the Austrian Open despite playing without his caddie, who failed to pass a coronavirus test.
The Scotsman birdied two of the last four holes for his first title since 2014 when he triumphed in Denmark.
However, victory was achieved despite having to carry his own clubs over the four rounds after his caddie failed to meet coronavirus protocols and was barred from the event at the Diamond Country Club.
“Carrying my bag this week probably helped tone it down a little, just going out and playing and seeing what happens. The result couldn’t have been any better,” said Warren.
“Hopefully this is the one and only time, no matter what I say, I do enjoy the caddie’s company.”
The Scotsman, who started the final round of the first European Tour event since March tied for the lead with German Nicolai Von Dellingshausen, opened with a birdie on Sunday.
But after three birdies and four bogeys over the next 11 holes, he needed his late rally to hold off Marc Schneider and Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez.
Schneider led but bogeyed the 14th and then Warren birdied the same hole.
Warren then broke a tie with Garcia Rodriguez with a birdie on the 17th.
After Garcia Rodriguez made a double bogey on the 18th, Warren needed a par to win and kept his nerve to hole a short par putt. He finished with his second consecutive 70 for a 13-under-par total of 275.
Schneider shot a 69 to finish one shot back. Dutchman Wil Besseling fired 66, the best round of the day, to finish another stroke back. Four more players, including Garcia Rodriguez who made 72, were another shot behind.
Veteran Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, who had led before a disastrous third round, finished tied for eighth after shooting 70.
The 56-year-old holds the record for oldest European Tour winner set at the 2014 Spanish Open.
Von Dellingshausen fell away with a final round of 76.
Warren’s last victory came in Denmark six years ago.
“2014 was the last time I’ve won,” said Warren. “In the years since then, I’ve played very poorly. The break has been unfortunate for everyone but it came at a good time for me.”
“I’ve been able to get some good work done and get ready to play golf. Came out of it pretty refreshed.”
The season continues in Austria next week with the Euram Bank Open followed by the British Masters at the start of a six-event UK swing.