NILBRINK WINS RAIN-SHORTENED NORWEGIAN IN PLAYOFF
The fourth and final round of the Norwegian open was cancelled after heavy overnight rain and more showers after play had started flooded the Losby course, near Oslo.Tour officials had no option but to call a halt, leaving the scores after round three as the final positions. However, a three-way playoff was needed to decide the winner and at the second extra hole, Sweden’s Paul Nilbrink sank a 15-foot birdie putt to take the title.
Over 24mm of rain was reported to have fallen on the course during the night and although play began, further downpours left bunkers flooded and green under water. When the decision to abandon play only 13 of the 26 groups had teed off.
After a wait for conditions to improve for the playoff, the third round leaders, Stuart Little, from England, and Swedes, Nilbrink and Per Larsson stepped out to decide the destination of the title and the first prize.
At the 209 metre, par-three 10th, all three players found the green with Nilbrink and Larsson securing their pars from 30 and 20 metres respectively. Although Little left his tee shot closer at around 15 metres, he three-putted and was eliminated.
At the second extra hole, the 383 metre ninth, Nilbrink hit driver and six-iron to 15 feet and holed for birdie while Larsson could do no better than par.
It was Nilbrink’s second Challenge Tour victory following his maiden success in last year’s Volvo Finnish Open at Espoo but he has been threatening to win again in recent weeks.
“I have been in this position twice this year so I thought it was third time lucky,” he said. “I felt very confident and have been putting much better in the last few weeks. O played the first playoff hole safe and at the second I hit a perfect drive and was between a six and seven iron for the approach.
“I chose the six iron which turned out to be the correct club. It left me with a 15-foot putt, which I managed, to hole.
“My win could have come because I have been busy and had other things on my mind. I am getting married in two weeks which is probably good since it stopped me thinking about golf all the time.”