Andy Ogletree stamped his authority once again on the Asian Tour by claiming the $2 million International Series England after a stunning seven-stroke victory – with a runaway 16-under tournament total.
The American was unstoppable at Close House, near Newcastle, shooting a final-round seven-under-par 64 – the joint lowest round of the week – to finish ahead of second-placed Ian Poulter, who closed with the same score. Indian Anirban Lahiri also excelled, carding a 68, to take sole possession of third, one back from Poulter.
This is Ogletree’s third convincing International Series victory – he triumphed in Qatar by three this year, and by four in Egypt last season – and it consolidated his lead on both the Asian Tour and International Series Order of Merits.
“I don’t think I could hit it much better than I did this week,” said the 25-year-old, who banked $360,000 for the win. “The greens were super bumpy, so it’s hard to tell exactly how my putting was, but I was pleased with how I played and my speed control coming down the stretch today was awesome. And it was nice to see a few putts go in, so we’re just gonna keep trying to get better every week. My game is in a really good spot against a world-class field, and I was pleased to play the way I did.”
Ogletree had a one-shot lead at the start of the day, and after brushing off a bogey on the opening hole he bagged birdies on the following hole, four, five and eight. He uncharacteristically missed a five-foot putt for par on the ninth that saw him make the turn with a three-shot lead, before he stormed home unchallenged with two birdies and an eagle on the back nine.
Ogletree’s success is all the more remarkable considering his last event on the Asian Tour was the International Series Vietnam in April, having focused on the LIV Golf League thereafter – the multi-million dollar circuit that he will play on full-time next year if, as looks likely, he finishes first on the International Series merit list.
Poulter, playing in the fifth from last group, closed Ogletree’s lead to five after he eagled the par-five 16th, only to see the American frontrunner do the same soon after.
Poulter, attempting to win for the first time in five years, said: “I just kind of found the key to hitting a few putts on these greens, which I didn’t have the first three days. And you know, when you do that and you play good golf like I played the first three days, then you’re going to be able to make some birdies. And that’s what I did today.”
Poulter’s 19-year-old son, Luke, who plays college golf at the University of Florida, completed an impressive tournament by closing with a 71, to finish in a tie for 22nd, on level par.
“It’s been amazing,” said Poulter Jnr. “I beat my dad’s score on one of the days, which was really cool, but my main goal was to try and beat him over 72 holes, but he got me by nine!”
For all the scores from The International Series England at Close House, click here