Aaron Rai has described his victory at the Scottish Open as ‘a dream come true’ after beating Tommy Fleetwood in a playoff at the Renaissance Golf Club on Sunday.
Rai shot a spectacular seven-under-par 64 for the final round to move to the summit of the leaderboard before Fleetwood sunk a birdie putt on the last hole to force a playoff.
The two Englishmen headed back to the 18th where last year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge winner missed a short par putt to concede to Rai’s second win on the European Tour.
‘If I’m honest, to win any event on the European Tour is amazing,’ said Rai.
‘You have to play some world-class golf. But for it to be a Rolex Series with the class of field that was this week is deeply satisfying, and yeah, incredibly pleased.
‘Being in that position, you’ve always got to move forward and be aggressive at the right points but not overly aggressive and drop shots, because it’s easily done around this kind of course. But then being able to play well, hitting fairways and greens, made a big difference in being able to create opportunities.’
The 25-year-old started Sunday’s showing in T10 and brilliantly fought his way up the leaderboard throughout the round, which led to the eventual playoff.
‘It kind of went by so quick, I wasn’t expecting it to be one hole. I thought it was going to take someone really winning it, especially with someone of Tommy’s class. But, yeah, it’s just incredible to be in this position,’ added Rai.
Despite missing out on victory, Fleetwood was happy with his performance throughout the week, which was also his second top-five finish on the European Tour in as many starts.
‘Aaron played 72 holes very, very good, and it was Aaron’s time and Aaron’s week. Congratulations to him,’ Fleetwood said.
‘Obviously I’d have loved it to have been me, but overall, looking back at the week, there’s so many putts that probably cost me being further in the tournament but that’s golf. There’s a lot of asset in the game that you have to do well to win, and you know, yeah, one putt on 18 on the 72nd hole, putting cost me at the end. But that’s life and try again next week.
‘I played really, really good, especially the back nine today, felt really in control of my game, and you know, end of the day, finish second – nobody beat me over 72 holes and like I say, it was Aaron’s time and that’s how it goes.’
The European Tour will head back to England this week for the BMW PGA Championship, which will tee off at Wentworth in Surrey on Thursday.