The 33-year old overtook his rivals early on during the final round after carding a sensational 65, and was preparing for a possible play-off. Then Matthew Southgate, his last possible adversary, hit his ball into the water on the 18th and the tournament's roll of honour had a new winner. Out on the range, an emotional and overjoyed Armitage received the first congratulations. "My heart was racing," said Armitage, "I'm a very emotional person but I was able to focus well on the course today."
Armitage is the fourth Englishman in succession to win the prestigious European Tour tournament on the Porsche Nord Course. This means that top golfers from England have always come out on top ever since the event moved to Hamburg in 2017. An impressive final round on Monday enabled Armitage (-8) to relegate Matthew Southgate (England), Thomas Detry (Belgium), Edoardo Molinari (Italy) and Darius van Driel (Netherlands) to a tie for second place. The Porsche European Open was put back two days and reduced to three rounds due to the latest travel restrictions.
Golf as an escape
For Armitage, it was his first European Tour win at his 71st attempt. Back in 2020, he had to borrow money for a flight to a tournament in South Africa. He finished third and he was able to repay the money quickly – now at the Green Eagle Golf Courses venue, he has climbed into the Top 30 in the Race to Dubai. After the death of his mother, Armitage left school at the age of 13 "and just hit balls" as it was his escape. Now the special golfer has celebrated his biggest career win to date at the Porsche European Open. Armitage said: "Twenty years ago I lost my mum and I've dreamt about this since that day, being a winner."
The best German was Marcel Schneider after placing an impressive seventh on three under par. "On the whole I have to say my long game was very good here and I holed a number of important putts. It's always very decisive. Everything is on the up - also for the future - and I'm very optimistic." It is Schneider's third Top 10 placing on the European Tour.
Casey: "It's what we want"
Title holder Paul Casey, who began the tournament with a disappointing 75, also improved again in the third round to eventually tie for sixth after posting a round of 68. "It really is a fair course, but one that is tough. It's a set-up like at the majors and it's what we want. The Porsche European Open is definitely one of the tournaments that the boys like to play. It was fantastic that the tournament took place."
Behind the leading duo going into the final round of the Porsche European Open are 29 players within five shots of the lead. They include title holder Paul Casey and the Italian Edoardo Molinari, who shot the day's lowest score to move him up 57 places to a tie for sixth. The race for the prestigious title has seldom been so open.
Antcliff, who secured himself his tour card last year with big wins on the China Golf Tour, finished his round with three birdies. The 28-year-old only was also only inches away from hitting an ace on the 17th to win the Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo up for grabs as the hole-in-one prize. "I can't really say why the course has suited me up until now. I'm simply trying to hit the fairways and greens. I want to remain patient. There's so many great holes out there and you simply have to get yourself into a good position and then try to take your chances."
Co-leader Southgate's impressive weekend at the Porsche European Open has however come as a bit of a surprise. The 32-year old's best ever placing was 20th at the Canary Islands Championship at the beginning of May. But he has found his form in Hamburg. "My strength is to concentrate on a plan," said Southgate after completing his round. "I've had the feeling for a long time that I'm one of the world's best drivers and it gives me a good buzz. It's all worked out well now. When the conditions with high rough and narrow fairways are like they are this week, then it's a good test of everybody's technique. I like It."
The week has come already come to an end for the some of the tournament's top stars: Martin Kaymer's first appearance on the Porsche Nord Course ended three shots off the cut at six over par. The German major winner took some positives away from the 36 challenging holes on the demanding Par 72 course. "It really is one of the toughest courses I've ever played on the European Tour and definitely the most difficult in Germany. Going into the US Open in two-week's time, it was therefore very good that I played here," said the German major winner. Kaymer's famous playing partner in his threesome Henrik Stenson (+10, Sweden) and Mexico's Abraham Ancer (+8) also failed to make it into the final round.
"It was a disappointing week on the golf course, but otherwise I had a lot of fun," said Stenson. "Everybody is very friendly and there's a nice atmosphere. I therefore hope to come back at some stage in the future." Ancer, who like all the pros was delighted to see spectators back lining the fairways, said: "It's such a pity as I was really up for this event, and I can definitely say that everybody has done a fantastic job."
After carding an impressive 69, title holder Paul Casey is now not far off the leaders in a tie for 19th. "I hit lots of good shots but it's simply a very difficult golf course. I'm trying not to get frustrated. We're all playing the same course. That's golf."
After carding 39 for his first nine holes from the 10th to the 18th and an excellent 29 coming back, Belgian Thomas Detry produced an impressive sprint on the first day of the 2021 Porsche European Open after a few relaxing days at home. The 28-year-old only drove to Hamburg on Friday from Brussels and played a few holes on the challenging course in the afternoon. The preparation worked a treat for Detry's game - with seven birdies in nine holes, he found himself topping the high-class line-up at four under par. Only a double bogey on the 5th allowed his rivals to stay in touch.
After the first of three rounds, Detry is one shot ahead of the Swede Alexander Björk, China's Ashun Wu and Scotland's David Law. All four went out early in the morning. Later in the afternoon, play was suspended due to the inclement weather and by that time the wind had got much stronger, with afternoon starter Ashley Chesters managing to join the trio tied in second place on three under.
"Not thinking about golf did me a world of good"
Detry, who dropped out of the European Tour's Top 10 in March, said the difference between the two halves hinged mainly on his putting. "There was not a great deal of difference in my game itself. The first half was solid. It was just that the putts weren't dropping. I'm pretty satisfied with the way everything went. It was very good golf," said Detry, who spent a few days back home in Belgium after intensive weeks at the PGA Championship and the European Tour's Made in Himmerland tournament in Denmark. Whilst there, he did a spot of gardening and put his golf bag to one side. "I didn't think about golf at all, and it did me a world of good." Proof can be seen in the fact that his name heads the Porsche European Open leaderboard after the first round.
As for the top favourites, the opening day of the prestigious European Tour tournament was not so encouraging. Title holder Paul Casey shot a three over par 75 making it the Englishman's worst ever score on the Porsche Nord Course. "That was a tough day out on the golf course," said Casey. "I think the course is even harder that the one two weeks ago at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island. But the leaders are not out of sight. Perhaps I'm in with a chance if I can quickly come up with a few birdies and sprint up the leaderboard."
It is also something Martin Kaymer will be hoping to do. After a good start with 11 pars and two birdies, he fell back after bogeying the 14th, 15th and 16th to finish the day in 36th place. Abraham Ancer and Henrik Stenson are four and five over par respectively after 18 holes.
Getting back into the swing of things: for the first time in just under two years, the Porsche European Open will again showcase high class golf in Germany – and in front of spectators. After the authorities gave the go ahead for the model project, golf fans will now be able to watch a European Tour event live in Europe for the first time since October 2019. The tournament however first had to be put back two days at short notice due to the stricter regulations in place for players and staff travelling from Great Britain. It will be played for the fourth time at the Green Eagle Golf Courses complex on Hamburg’s doorstep from 5 to 7 June. The combination of another powerful field – headed by title holder Paul Casey – and the outstanding Porsche Nord Course venue means that the sixth edition promises to continue the tournament’s successful history.
“Especially in these difficult times, our and the new organisers U.COM Event joint aim was to actually hold the tournament and therefore give the game’s fans the opportunity to watch high class golf again,” says Deniz Keskin, Director Brand Management and Partnerships at Porsche AG. “Particularly pleasing for us is naturally the fact that fans will be able to experience the world class golfers live at the Porsche Nord Course venue and in doing so generate the accustomed excellent atmosphere.”
Deniz Keskin will also be a guest in the first Porsche European Open Sky Live Talk scheduled to start at 5 pm CEST this Tuesday. The show will be hosted by Sky’s Florian Bauer who will also be joined by the Tournament Director Dirk Glittenberg and the two-time major winner Martin Kaymer. It will be broadcast live on skysport.de.
Major winner and US PGA Tour stars
The tournament’s top stars this year include the Porsche Brand Ambassador Paul Casey from England, the Mexican Abraham Ancer, one of the PGA Tour’s recent rising stars and the Swedish major winner Henrik Stenson. All three compete in the main on the US PGA Tour.
From a German point of view, golf fans can look forward to Martin Kaymer making his first appearance at Green Eagle as well as Max Kieffer, who has caused quite a stir this year with two runner-up finishes on the European Tour.
Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo as the hole-in-one prize
In compliance with all the necessary regulations, Porsche customers can enjoy both reserved parking at the venue and the facilities at the Porsche Owners‘ Garden on the Porsche Nord Course’s 17th hole on each day of the tournament. This year’s hole-in-one prize, a Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo, will be showcased on the Par 3 tee. After the historical appearance of the Taycan Turbo S at the 2019 Porsche European Open only a few days after its world premiere, the first derivative of the successful electric sports car is now awaiting a happy winner. He can look forward to a powerful electric athlete and a real all-rounder that fits excellently into the sports world with its off-road features and a more spacious interior.
Awaiting the leader at the end of each of the first two days of tournament play is also a unique Porsche experience: the player topping the leaderboard can enjoy his trips to and from the golf course in the Leader’s Car, a Porsche Taycan Turbo S in gentian blue with a special livery in the corporate tournament design. On both evenings after the first two rounds, fans will also have the opportunity to ask the leader a question via Instagram. The most exciting ones will be answered by the pro the next morning as soon as he arrives at the course in the Leader’s Car.
Support through Paul Casey
In 2019, the eventual winner Paul Casey also took a seat in the Leader’s Car. The Porsche Brand Ambassador not only wants to successfully defend his title but is also committed to supporting the tournament: “Organising a golf event like this one is currently a major challenge for everybody involved – something that was not only obvious in the past few days in the lead up to the Porsche European Open. It’s why I’d like to support this event, one I really love to play.”
The three-time Ryder Cup winner is also the face of this year’s golf and tournament campaign in which he links the Porsche and golf worlds as a top golfer and big fan of the brand. Additionally, the Englishman can also be heard from Thursday 3 June in the new English-language episode of the Porsche “9:11” podcast together with the Porsche works driver and golf enthusiast Kevin Estre.
Porsche in golf
Porsche has been the title sponsor of the Porsche European Open, a European Tour event, since 2015 and has been involved successfully in professional golf with automotive partnerships at three tournaments on the Asian and European Tour since 2019. Last year the sports car manufacturer additionally supported the UK Swing with the European Tour’s “Golf for Good” initiative. Porsche has also been organising the Porsche Golf Cup for more than three decades. The tournament series is one of the company’s most successful customer events. Held in Germany for the first time in 1988, the Porsche Golf Cup has developed into an international event at which recently over 17,000 Porsche customers competed in 261 qualifying tournaments worldwide. Also highly successful is the Porsche Golf Circle, an international and app-based community for keen golf-playing Porsche customers that was launched in 2017.