September 27, 2017: English Golfer and the host of British Masters 2017, Lee Westwood clinched the winner’s title in the thrilling one-hole knockout contest – The Hero Challenge – ahead of the British Masters 2017. The Hero Challenge was staged under lights at a specially constructed Par-3 on the 18th hole at the stunning Close House golf course.
Making a great debut at the Hero Challenge amidst a packed house of over 4000 fans, Westwood defeated Spanish Golfer, Sergio Garcia in a shoot-out in the final, after eliminating Britain’s Ross Fisher and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger in a similar fashion in earlier rounds.
Mr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hero MotoCorp Ltd, presented the winner’s trophy to Westwood.
A key partner of the European Tour, Hero MotoCorp introduced the innovative ‘Hero Challenge’ at the British Masters in 2016. Encouraged by the massive success and support garnered in the first edition, Hero MotoCorp has extended the partnership with European Tour by another three years.
This season, the Hero Challenge received a phenomenal response at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open 2017, before making a splendid comeback at the prestigious British Masters. The third Hero Challenge, and the fourth overall, will be held in Dubai at the DP World Tour Championships in November.
Westwood said, “It’s a great way to kick off the tournament. It’s different and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t expect to win, I have to admit, but it is a great start to the week and it was good fun playing against Sergio in the final. The crowd really got behind it. They were brilliant. You wouldn’t expect anything else from a Newcastle crowd at a sporting event though – they’re always good.”
The 2017 Masters champion, Garcia, who earlier said that the game needed new formats to attract young crowds, was thrilled to reach the final.
“The Hero Challenge is a great idea to bring in new audiences to the game. When I was growing up, there were not so many choices for sport for us, but now there are so many choices. The European Tour and the sponsors have brought in a great idea,” said Garcia.
In the opening match, Garcia defeated his senior Spanish rival, the highly entertaining Miguel Angel Jimenez, while Bernd Wiesberger beat the 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett with a hole out in a sudden-death after both parred the hole.
On the other side of the draw, Westwood beat fellow Englishman Ross Fisher in a shoot-out, while two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer did likewise against young Mathew Fitzpatrick, who is the 2015 British Masters winner.
In the semi-finals, Garcia got past Wiesberger and Westwood beat Kaymer. Into the final, Westwood came through in a shoot-out beating Garcia, as both players waved out and sent the fans into a frenzy.
Anchored by TV hosts Vernon Kay and Kirsty Gallacher, there was also a nearest-to-the-pin competition for celebrities, including star footballers and TV personalities, such as former Liverpool footballer Robbie Fowler, Gaz Beadle from Geordie Shore, England cricketer Stuart Broad and BBC breakfast presenter Dan Walker. Fowler took the honours by finishing inches ahead of Walker.
Hero Challenge Results:
Round 1: Match 1: Sergio Garcia beat Miguel Ángel Jiménez; Match 2: Bernd Wiesberger beat Danny Willett; Match 3: Lee Westwood beat Ross Fisher; Match 4: Martin Kaymer beat Matthew Fitzpatrick
Semi-Finals: Garcia beat Wiesberger; Westwood beat Kaymer;
Final: Westwood beat Garcia