The PGA of Holland’s Ralph Miller managed to successfully convert his lead and dominant play at the 2016 UniCredit PGA Professional Championship of Europe to take the Championship honours and the first prize of €10,000.
“I finally won it! After trying four times, coming in second twice, and finished third once,” said Miller. “Now finally winning is great. This is the cherry on the cake – it’s the biggest event I’ve won this year and it’s just great.
“People ask me ‘are you going to go play again?’ and I just turned 40 this year – 40 is the new 30 they say – but I love coaching, love teaching and working with young players that want to become professionals…so I’m going to just keep doing that and then play some events like I do now and that’s enough for me.”
Having come close in 2011 with a third place, and even closer in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Championship, Miller’s winning performance was due and a popular outcome for the event.
After the third round’s play was abandoned at Pravets Golf & Spa Resort in Bulgaria due to the weather conditions, Miller’s lead after two rounds carried over, beginning the day with a one-shot lead at nine-under par.
Miller carded an eagle, four birdies and one bogey on his way to a cool and controlled 67 (-5) and a total of 14-under par, a comfortable five shots ahead of the field.
“I still had the same gameplan of trying to hit fairways and hit greens – give yourself chances – and that’s what I did,” Miller added. “I didn’t make any mistakes except up the 11th where I made a bogey as my ball was plugged in the bunker, but you know what I played very solid.”
The award for supporting performance of the day went to the PGA in England’s Craig Shave, another regular at the Confederation of Professional Golf’s flagship Championship.
Starting the final round seven shots behind the leaders in tie-16th place, Shave set a target of eight-under in his head and surpassed that to finish with a closing 65 for a nine-under par total and second place, his best finish in the event to date.
“I’ve hit it well all week, I just didn’t hole anything on the first two days…today the difference was mainly I just holed some putts,” said Shave. “It’s always nice to represent your country in something like this – it never gets old.”
Lone third place went to the PGA of Canada’s Marc-Etienne Bussieres, playing in his first UniCredit PGA Professional Championship and also his first golf in Europe.
Bussieres’ steady final round of 70 (two-under) helped him rise up the leaderboard by a place with an eight-under par total:
“Before coming here I definitely looked at the leaderboard from the previous years and saw my fellow Canadian, Danny King, who finished 8th last year,” said Bussieres. “So obviously I wanted to finish top-eight or better so I’d say it was a good week!”
For more information on the 2016 UniCredit PGA Professional Championship of Europe visit the Tournament Hub Page, follow @PGAsofEurope and search #PassportToPravets on Twitter, or like the Confederation of Professional Golf Facebook Page.