Norway’s Morten Hagen completed a dream day at the Waxholm Golf Club by defeating Sweden’s Christian Nilsson with a brilliant birdie at the fourth hole of a sudden-death play-off, after a he had posted a final round of five under par 68 to charge up the leaderboard and into contention.
Nilsson, having led the tournament from day one, began the fourth round with a four shot advantage but the final day pressure made the Waxholm Golf Cub an entirely different proposition to what the Swede had negotiated during the first three rounds.
Hagen put the requisite amount of pressure on Nilsson with that excellent 68, giving the Norwegian a clubhouse lead of 12 under par 280, and sending out the message to Nilsson that he would have overcome the pressure to make the title his own.
When Nilsson birdied the par five 15th to get back to level for the day and 14 under in total, he looked to be in control. But, as the tension mounted, he dropped two shots in two holes and had to make a testing two putt from abround 80 feet for a par three on the 18th green to ensure that he went into the play-off with Hagen.
The play-off started on the par four ninth, with Hagen and Nilsson both making pars. They went back to ninth tee once more, but still couldn’t be separated as they halved with a pair of bogeys.
The par three 18th was the next test, and the watching crowd seemed to be sensing that one of the players was going to have to do something special to wrestle the trophy and the €17,259 first prize from the other.
Another two pars and it was back to the ninth, where Hagen was the man to find that extra something that allowed him to follow up a great drive with an eight iron to three feet and make the decisive birdie three.
He tapped in for victory, completing a remarkable day for the 31 year old Norwegian.
“This is my second best day ever,” smiled Hagen. “I’m a bit tired but it feels absolutely great to have won. When I finished on the 18th I saw Christian making a birdie on the 15th green and thought he would go on and win because he could play the last three holes in one over par and still win. But when I saw he bogeyed the 16th and I started to believe that it could happen.
“This has been a great week for me and now I have to go and decide what I am going to do because I now have the chance to play on the Challenge Tour and I want to get to The European Tour as soon as I can.”