Thongchai Jaidee wins Wales Open
6:16pm Sunday 3rd June 2012 in Wales Open
Ryder Cup player Ross Fisher left Celtic Manor in angry mood after being given a one-shot penalty and a £6,000 fine for slow play when only one off the lead at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.
"I don't think it's justice, but there you go," said Fisher, who after being told about the punishment with four holes to play fell away to joint sixth place.
Thailand's 42-year-old Thongchai Jaidee was the tournament winner, a bogey six at the last leaving him one in front of Dane Thomas Bjorn, South African Richard Sterne, Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Dutchman Joost Luiten.
But it was what happened to Fisher, who finished only two shots behind, back at the course where he helped Europe to victory two years ago which became the day's main talking point.
Although it is only 10 months since the European Tour last handed out a stroke penalty, it is thought to be decades since someone in the final group on the final day had action taken against them for slow play.
The most famous incident came in the 1981 PGA Championship at Ganton when Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Ken Brown were all fined - winner Faldo and Norman the princely sum of £50 and Brown £150.
Tour chief referee John Paramor was the man who stepped in after giving Fisher, Jaidee and Luiten a warning as early as the sixth hole that they needed to speed up.
Then came Fisher's second shot to the par-five 11th. As the second of the group to play he was allowed 40 seconds plus a few more because of the bad weather, but took 57 seconds.
"It was a clear bad time," said Paramor. "Then on the 14th green he took 55 seconds over his first putt.
"I told him before he teed off at the 15th - and I don't think he was particularly happy."
Fisher, two behind, failed to birdie the driveable par four, bogeyed the short 17th and finished with a two-over-par 73.
He has history with the Tour. Back in the 2009 Open at Turnberry, where he led early in the final round, Paramor watched him and afterwards handed him a video to study.
"I think he struggles," Paramor said. "His pre-shot routine is not quick. Today was clearly very important to him - he was contending - and he was extending his routine by a whisker."
For former paratrooper Jaidee it was a fifth victory on the circuit, but his first outside Asia.
The world number 199 led by one overnight, but fell one behind after running up a double-bogey seven at the ninth.
At that point he had not had a single birdie, but he started for home with three in a row and was in control once he added an 18-foot birdie for another on the 15th.
That gave Jaidee the luxury of being able to bogey the 16th and long 18th and still take the £300,000 first prize with a one-over-par 72 and six-under aggregate.
For Bjorn and Fernandez-Castano, rounds of 68 and 67 were a great boost to their hopes of making this year's Ryder Cup, but the round of the day was a 65 from 45-year-old Paul McGinley.
The Dubliner, one of Colin Montgomerie's vice-captains two years ago and favourite to lead the team at Gleneagles in 2014, did not drop a stroke and gave himself a chance of his first win for seven years when he birdied the difficult 16th into the wind and rain.
That is the hole forever to be remembered for Graeme McDowell's birdie against the Americans. McGinley hit a drive and three wood to 40 feet and made the putt.
For Michael Pearlman's report, reaction and pictures see Monday's Argus sport.
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