Richard Boxall picks out 2015's best European Tour performances
Last Updated: 24/12/15 12:05pm
Richard Boxall looks back on another memorable European Tour year and selects his top-five performances for 2015...
He got his year off to a flyer with two wins in South Africa, and it was great to see another young Englishman coming through and winning on the European Tour.
Andy has got a great personality and is fantastic with the media as well. He has kept his feet on the ground, although he must have thought that all his Christmases had come at once with the way he was playing.
He had a bit of a quiet spell after his second win in Joburg, but he got his rhythm back and dominated the Portugal Masters to win by a distant nine strokes.
Sully pushed Rory McIlroy all the way in Dubai and was edged into second place, but he can look back on his year with an awful lot of pride and I expect even more from him next season.
Lee won his first professional title in Madrid back in 2011 and I really thought he would kick on from there but, for whatever reason, he didn't build on that victory.
But he got back on track this year and had a couple of top 10s in South Africa and the Czech Republic, and he played superbly to win the Russian Open in early September. He shot four rounds in the 60s and held his nerve at the 72nd hole to win by one shot.
What was also impressive was that he almost won again the following week at the Dutch Open, although he three-putted the last hole from 60 or 70 feet and finished a shot behind Thomas Pieters.
Lee went on to finish 45th in the Race to Dubai, and it was nice to see that Lee Slattery has arrived, albeit a few years later than I expected him to. He proved he can get across the line, and I'm certain he will win plenty more European Tour events in the future.
Soren deserves huge respect for what he achieved this year. He had been struggling for a while and just did enough to hold onto his card in 2014.
But turning 40 in May clearly had a positive effect on his game, and he defied brutal conditions to win the Irish Open - his first European Tour victory for six years. He hit one of the shots of the season into the 18th at Royal County Down and edged out Eddie Pepperell and Bernd Wiesberger in a play-off.
Kjeldsen then had a further six top-10s, including runner-up finishes in his homeland and another at the British Masters, and finishing 15th in the Race to Dubai was his best performance since 2009.
It was great to see his confidence return, and his mental attitude at the end of the season was so much better than back in January. He knows he can play, and he will look to build on that in 2016.
Thomas is a quiet lad, but he's been talked about a lot and was widely predicted to win a lot of tournaments in his career.
He was a little inconsistent in mid-season, but he grabbed his maiden title at the Czech Masters, took a week off, and then won again the following week at the Dutch Open.
Pieters is a similar player to his fellow Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, very tall and hits the ball a country mile, and he is definitely one to watch for the future. He is very capable of collecting two or three wins every season.
Matt Ford needed a good week at the final regular-season event in Hong Kong to retain his card, and I know exactly what he was going through as I've been in that position.
I needed a top-10 finish at the Portugal Masters in 1985 and I was tied for sixth with six others coming up the final hole. I had to make a par to retain my card for the following season, and luckily I managed that and the relief was huge.
So I know exactly how Matt was feeling going into the Hong Kong Open, and he did so well to shoot four rounds in the 60s and finish tied for seventh. That lifted him from 118th to 105th in the Race to Dubai and earn his playing rights for next year.
He might have been thinking he had his card more or less sewn up when he finished second behind Trevor Fisher Jr at the Africa Open back in early March, but he then missed the cut nine times in his next 13 events.But Matt pulled it out of the bag when he most needed it, and that bodes well for his 2016 campaign.