Ricardo Gonzalez earns PGA Tour Champions win in Morocco

Ricardo Gonzalez has earned a special victory… 

The 54-year-old Argentine professional golfer ran off four straight birdies on the back nine on Saturday and closed with a 3-under 70 for a 1-shot victory in the Trophy Hassan II, giving him membership on the PGA Tour Champions for the first time.

Ricardo GonzalezGonzalez got into the field — the only PGA Tour Champions event outside North America except for the Senior British Open — by finishing among the top four on the European Legends Tour last season. He made it pay off in a big way.

His birdie streak began at the 13th hole, and two closing pars gave him a one-shot victory over Thomas Bjorn, who needed birdie on the par-5 closing hole at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to force a playoff. Bjorn shot 69.

Y.E. Yang, who shared the 36-hole lead with Gonzalez, had a 73 and tied for third with Mark Hensby, who closed with a 71.

Gonzalez was a four-time winner on the European tour. He finished at 10-under 209 and won $320,000 from the $2 million purse. Just as valuable was an exemption on tour.

“I’m feeling so good, so good, so big and now playing the tour everybody like to play, no?” he said. “Everybody like to play in the Champions Tour and one of the lucky men to get in there.”

Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, in his first PGA Tour Champions event since he was released from two years in prison for gender violence, shot 70 and tied for 27th. Cabrera is set to play in the Argentina Open next week on the Korn Ferry Tour.

José María Olazábal Named a European Team Vice Captain for This Year’s Ryder Cup

José María Olazábal has a new vice (title)…

The 57-year-old Spanish professional golfer has been named as the European team’s fourth vice captain for the Ryder Cup.

José María Olazábal It’s the fourth time Olazábal will serve as assistant — after 2008, 2010 and 2014 — and he was captain for Europe’s famous comeback win at Medinah in 2012.

He also played for the European team on seven occasions from 1987 to 2006, winning 20½ points.

European captain Luke Donald had already picked three vice captains — Thomas BjørnEdoardo Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts — for the Ryder Cup being held at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome from September 29 to October 1.

“I am really looking forward to feeling that special adrenaline flow, the intensity and the electricity that only the Ryder Cup can bring — I’m really excited to be part of it all again,” Olazábal said.

“It was a very nice surprise to be asked by Luke. I didn’t expect it, but I was delighted when the call came.”