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Open De Espana 2015: Daily Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2015

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 17:  James Morrison of England looks on after he hits his tee shot on the 1st hole during the final round of the Open de Espana held at Real Club de Golf el Prat on May 17, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

England's James Morrison won the 2015 Open De Espana at El Prat in Barcelona on Sunday, shooting an impressive three-under 69 in his final round for 10 under in the tournament.

Heading into Sunday's play tied for the lead with compatriot David Howell at seven under par, Morrison thrived as he carded a bogey-less round to take his second career European Tour title by four shots.

Howell dropped to six under for the tournament after a 73, tied for second with home favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez, Edouard Espana and Francesco Molinari.

Read on for a full day-by-day recap of the action in Spain.

Day 4 Recap 

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 16:  James Morrison of England hits his second shot on the 18th hole during Day 3 of the Open de Espana held at Real Club de Golf el Prat on May 16, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Morrison picked up his first shot on Sunday with a birdie on the fifth hole courtesy of a chip-in from behind the green, and he moved to nine under with a three on the par-four ninth.

Eight consecutive pars on the back nine saw him head to the 18th with a three-stroke advantage at the top of the leaderboard, and his birdie on the last hole saw him claim a comfortable win.

Here's how the leaderboard finished after 72 holes of action, per the European Tour's official website:

Open de Espana Leaderboard
Pos.PlayerOverall ScoreRound 4
1James Morrison-1069
T2Miguel Angel Jimenez-667
T2Francesco Molinari-671
T2Edouard Espana-669
T2David Howell-673
7Emiliano Grillo-571
T7Jose Manuel Lara-466
T7Jorge Campillo-470
T9Wade Ormsby-365
T9Maximilian Kieffer-366
European Tour

Morrison followed a 70 and 71 on the first two days with an excellent round of 68 on Saturday, which put him in contention for tournament victory.

He barely looked flustered on Sunday as he cruised to victory in impressive style, with no other player in the field able to keep pace with him.

A bogey on the sixth and a six on the par-four ninth effectively put paid to Howell's challenge. The 39-year-old birdied three of the last five holes to tie for second, but he could not mount a charge in the end for the title.

Jimenez's 67 moved him also into a tie for second, with the veteran Spaniard moving to six under courtesy of five birdies and an eagle on the par-four fifth, per The European Tour:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

STOP IT Miguel! Eagle two for Jimenez at the fifth hole. An eight iron from 158 yards has him dancing again. #legend http://t.co/Y3MQUtcNv8

Australian Wade Ormsby shot the round of the day with a faultless 65. His front nine was quite exceptional, as Ormsby birdied six holes—including four in a row—and eventually finished tied for ninth.

Previous Spanish Open winner Sergio Garcia had a poor day by his high standards, carding a one-over 73, although he did produce some magic on the 10th, per The European Tour:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

It hasn't been Sergio's day, but he did produce this. http://t.co/jhalGX6vMy https://t.co/F0oY08j4Od

But it was very much Morrison's day as he held his nerve and produced an error-free performance under great pressure to claim the biggest title of his career.

The European Tour now moves to Wentworth Club in England for the BMW PGA Championship, which begins on Thursday.

Day 3 Recap

A forgettable Saturday for second-round leader Edouard Espana, who posted a 4-over 76, opened the door for James Morrison and David Howell to assume the lead. The Englishmen are two strokes clear of Francesco Molinari with 18 holes to play.

There are 12 players within five strokes of the top spot heading into the final round. It could point toward an entertaining finish at Real Club de Golf El Prat on Sunday. Here's how the leaderboard looks after three days via the European Tour:

Open de Espana 2015: Round 3 Leaderboard
Pos.GolferRound 3Overall Score
T-1James Morrison68-7
T-1David Howell69-7
3Francesco Molinari70-5
T-4Emiliano Grillo72-4
T-4Darren Fichardt73-4
6Edouard Espana76-3
T-7Sergio Garcia67-2
T-7Jorge Campillo70-2
T-7Byeong-Hun An72-2
T-7Benjamim Hebert73-2
T-7Michael Hoey75-2
T-7Ricardo Gonzalez76-2
EuropeanTour.com

Espana shot in the 60s each of the first two rounds. He couldn't find the same rhythm to start the weekend. He carded just a single birdie to go along with three bogeys and a double bogey on the 15th. It sends him into the final round four strokes back.

Morrison moved into a tie for the lead amid a wild week. He struggled early on Thursday with three early bogeys and had a double bogey on his card today. Yet he heads into Sunday will a legitimate chance of raising the trophy.

He spoke with the European Tour's official site about the interesting journey.

"It's been three very silly days—the first day I was three over after five holes and today made a seven at the second out of nowhere and fought my way back again," Morrison said. "It's what you've got to do really—it takes one good shot to get back in it. I've done that all week; I've really maintained my process and my game plan."

One notable name that moved up the leaderboard on Saturday was Sergio Garcia. After falling short in a playoff at the Players Championship last weekend, he's right back in contention across the Atlantic after a 5-under 67.

The European Tour noted his big jump:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

47 - the amount of places @TheSergioGarcia moved up the leaderboard thanks to his low round of the day 67. http://t.co/P8f31DiMix

All told, there's a good chance Sunday will feature a dramatic finish. Nobody has been overly dominant through the first three days and there are several potential pitfalls on this course. That's evident when multiple players on the leaderboard have double bogeys on their scorecards.

Don't be surprised if Molinari, who was at 7-under before a double bogey of his own at No. 17 today, emerges from the crowded field with the victory. He's been steady aside from that one hole.

Day 2 Recap

After two days of action, Frenchman Edouard Espana fittingly leads the Open de Espana at Real Club de Golf El Prat in Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain, as he shot a three-under 69 in the second round for an overall score of seven-under.

Espana holds a one-shot lead over Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez, who also carded a 69 Friday. Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard, with the full rundown available at EuropeanTour.com:

Open de Espana 2015: Round 2 Leaderboard
PositionGolferTo ParRd 1Rd 2
1Edouard Espana-76869
2Ricardo Gonzalez-66969
T3Michael Hoey-57168
T3Darren Fichardt-56673
T5Emiliano Grillo-47070
T5David Howell-47169
T5Paul Maddy-47070
T8Francesco Molinari-37269
T8John Parry-36873
T8James Morrison-37071
T8Benjamin Hebert-37170
T8Jason Palmer-37170
EuropeanTour.com

While there is plenty of star power in the tournament, most of the golfers contending for the lead aren't well-known. Francesco Molinari is the biggest name near the top, as he is four shots back, but many of the players who were expected to compete have struggled.

Chief among them is Sergio Garcia, fresh off his playoff loss to Rickie Fowler at The Players Championship last week. El Nino came out of the gates slow with a 75 Thursday, and things didn't get much better Friday as he settled for an even-par 72.

That was good enough for him to make the cut, which is something that the 35-year-old veteran is trying to take solace in:

Sergio Garcia @TheSergioGarcia

2 tough days to start the #OpendeEspaña but at least I'll have the opportunity to play the weekend and have a chance! Will need great golf!

According to BBC.com, the blustery conditions gave Garcia some problems in the second round:

"I didn't feel I played that badly," Garcia said. "I hit a lot of good shots, but it's difficult when you don't guess the wind right."

Defending champion and fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez is six shots off the pace at one-under, and while he shot only a modest 71 Friday, he was part of the day's biggest highlight.

As seen in this video, the eccentric star sunk a hole-in-one on the par-three eighth hole. The ace prompted Jimenez to bust out a Moonwalk-esque dance, as seen in this video:

Jimenez also won 288 bottles of beer by virtue of his hole-in-one. He additionally made some European Tour history as he tied the record for the most career aces, per European Tour Productions assistant TV producer Emma Wallace:

Emma Wallace @EmmaWallace400

#OpenDeEspana JIMENEZ MAKES A HOLE IN ONE on the 8th with a 6 iron! Matches Monty's @EuropeanTour record of 9 holes in one! #inthehole

Luck was on Jimenez's side, but the same can't be said for England's Tommy Fleetwood. He was just one shot off the lead after the first round, but things went south quickly Friday.

The 24-year-old golfer struggled to a five-over 77, which leaves him in a tie for 16th. After falling down the leaderboard, Fleetwood acknowledged that it wasn't his finest performance:

Tommy Fleetwood @TommyFleetwood1

Now that was tough!! @EuropeanTour #OpenDeEspana

While Fleetwood isn't totally out of it at one-under, he has plenty of work to do over the weekend. The one thing working in his favor, as well as that of everyone else within striking distance of the lead, is that it doesn't seem as though anyone is poised to put a stranglehold on the tourney.

Espana is the golfer to beat at this point, but he doesn't have a comprehensive history of success, which means he could easily fall off in the third round.

Even though there aren't many stars in the running through two rounds, the conclusion of the Open de Espana should be exciting based solely on unpredictability.

Day 1 Recap

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 14:  Edoardo Molinari of Italy hits his 3rd shot on the 9th hole out of the bunker during Day 1 of the Open de Espana held at Real Club de Golf el Prat on May 14, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Trevor Fisher Jr. leads the way after Round 1 of the Open de Espana after shooting a superb seven-under par round of 65.

The South African played superbly around this picturesque golf course, finishing the day with a one-shot lead over home crowd favourite Eduardo de la Riva, Tommy Fleetwood and Darren Fichardt.

Here’s a look at how it's shaping up after Day 1 of the Spanish Open and a closer examination of how things played out during the opening round of what will surely be a great tournament.

Open de Espana 2015: Round 1 Leaderboard
PositionPlayerRound 1 ScoreOverall
1Trevor Fisher Jr.65-7
T2Tommy Fleetwood66-6
T2Eduardo de la Riva66-6
T2Darren Fichardt66-6
T5Matt Ford67-5
T5Mark Tullo67-5
T7John Parry68-4
T7Edouard Espana68-4
T7Soren Hansen68-4
T7Adrien Otaegui68-4
EuropeanTour.com

For the full leaderboard, check out the European Tour website.

Fisher Jr. was by far the most composed player out on the course on Day 1, as he rattled in eight birdies in a wonderful round of golf.

Fisher was the standout performer on Day 1.
Fisher was the standout performer on Day 1.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

After starting on the ninth, the South African’s only blemish came at Hole 1. But he responded to that setback superbly, scoring birdies on five of the following six holes to surge into the overall lead.

As we can see here, courtesy of Euro Tour Chaplains, he was straight back out on the range after completing his round, too:

Euro Tour Chaplains @Tour_Chaplain

Trevor Fisher warming down after his opening 65 to lead in the first round of the Spanish Open in Barcelona http://t.co/jGRiw2Qjmi

In De La Riva and Fleetwood, Fisher Jr. is likely to have some major competition to keep hold of his lead. Both men enjoyed superb rounds, with the Spaniard shooting one eagle and four birdies in a bogey-free effort. Fleetwood notched two eagles and three birdies, but a bogey at 15 cost him a share of the lead.

De La Riva shot an immaculate round.
De La Riva shot an immaculate round.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The Englishman insisted that going out early and making the most of the conditions was vital to their chances of success, per the European Tour website:

I did not play well in the pro-am on Wednesday then did some good work on the range and came out this morning and hit it really good. I did not miss many fairways and it was just a case of holing a few putts.

The greens are tricky and we had to make the most of them this morning. Yesterday was firm, fast and tough and this morning was softer and the greens were a bit slower. Having the conditions like we did you had to go out and try to make a score.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 14:  Tommy Fleetwood of England hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during Day 1 of the Open de Espana held at Real Club de Golf el Prat on May 14, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

It was a tough day for Garcia, as the Spanish superstar shot a disappointing three-over par round of 75. But as noted by the European Tour Twitter account, the Ryder Cup winner had some family on hand to help cheer him up:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

Sergio cards an opening round 75 but his nephew Eric still loves him. #OpendeEspana http://t.co/cWObF78e3J

Elsewhere, Jimenez made a solid start to his defence of this title, opening up with a solid level-par round of 72. Disappointingly, there were also a trio of withdrawals on Day 1, as Andy Sullivan, Simon Khan and Jose Maria Olazabal all pulled out with injury problems.

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