Brandon Stone wins Scottish Open after stunning near 59 on Sunday


GULLANE, Scotland – Brandon Stone looked like he’d lost the $7 million Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open when he sank to his knees after missing an eight-foot birdie putt on the Gullane Golf Club’s 18th green.

The former Texas player missed out on making history by becoming the first player to shoot 59 on the European Tour. The 25-year-old was on 59-watch after eagling the par-5 16th hole to reach 10 under for his round on the par 70. He had an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th to etch himself into the record books.

“To walk away with 60 having missed an eight-footer was a slight disappointment, but I won’t really complain,” Stone said.

No wonder! He earned his third European Tour victory and the biggest win of his life. His 20-under 260 total gave him a four-shot victory over England’s Eddie Pepperell, and a check for $1.16 million.

“If I’m going to be brutally honest, I had no idea what my score was until I walked on the 13th green. It was just one of those days where everything went well, hit it great, holed some beautiful putts.”

The Pretoria native is the 19th player to record 60 on the European Tour. Peter Uihlein was the last player to do so. The 2010 U.S. Amateur champion recorded a 60 at Kingsbarns in the 2013 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Stone arrived in Scotland having made just seven of 16 cuts this season. He was 144th on the money list with just under $173,000. His best place was T-22 in the low budget Trophee Hassan II.

Nothing pointed to him winning a European Tour Rolex Series event. In fact, his previous best finish in a Rolex tournament was T-60 in this year’s BMW PGA Championship.

Stone’s bonus prize is a chance to play in next week’s Open Championship at Carnoustie. Stone, Pepperell and third place finisher Jens Dantorp earned Open spots as the leading three players in the top 10 not already exempt for Carnoustie.

Stone has now won in each of the last three seasons, but this victory elevates him to the level many expected of him when he was named 2013 NCAA Freshman of the Year in his brief spell at Texas.

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