Chris Wood is confident he has done enough to qualify for the US Open as he reflected on a frustrating runner-up finish at the Nordea Masters in Sweden.
Wood was tied for the lead with Renato Paratore when he arrived on the 18th tee, but he pulled his drive into deep trouble among the trees and bushes and was forced to take a penalty drop for an unplayable lie.
The Englishman managed to advance his third shot through the trees and into the front-left greenside bunker but, needing to hole out to force a play-off, Wood’s escape from the sand was three feet left of the target.
The resulting bogey left Wood in a share of second with defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick, but he will move back into the top 60 when the world rankings are updated on Monday and he will be in the field at Erin Hills if he stays there the following week.
“It’s obviously disappointing, but it’s some points on the board and should nudge me back into the US Open and that’s what I came here to do really,” said Wood after signing for an erratic 72 featuring five birdies and four bogeys.
“That round probably summarised how I felt my game was this week, it was a little bit scrappy with some really good stuff in there as well. All week I feel like I’ve been fighting my swing and probably surprised myself with a lot of the good shots I hit this week. Your flaws come out when you’re under pressure.
“Overall we’ve had a great week, but it’s hard when you can’t close it out. We all hit bad shots but considering my start I battled away like I always do, but yeah it’s quite hard to take.”
But as Wood rued his late error, Paratore celebrated his maiden victory on the European Tour after becoming the youngest winner since his fellow Italian and GolfSixes partner Matteo Manassero lifted the BMW PGA Championship title in 2013.
The 20-year-old shared the lead after birdies at the eighth and ninth, and he picked up further shots at 12 and 14 before making clutch par saves at the last three holes to card a 70 and post a winning score of 11 under par.
“It feels really amazing right now and I’m very happy,” said the 20-year-old. “This win means a lot and also to win at a nice tournament like this is very good for me. I feel really great. The first win, I will remember my entire life and it feels amazing to be in the winner’s circle with Italians like the Molinaris, Manassero and Rocca.
“It was a little bit stressful for me at the end. Chris is a really solid player so I was expecting a play-off. Then when he made a bogey I was a little bit less stressed!
“I really had to keep a good attitude because I didn’t play well, but the short game helped me a lot. The last three holes I managed three very good putts. The last three holes were very good.”