Thomas Bjorn claimed victory at last year's Johnnie Walker Championship after a five-man play-off. Here, in an excerpt from The European Tour Yearbook 2012, we recap how the Dane captured his second title of the season at Gleneagles.
The PGA Centenary Course will make its mark in golfing history in a couple of years’ time when it plays host to The Ryder Cup, but it carved its own special niche in European Tour history following Thomas Björn’s remarkable victory in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Only once in the 40 year history of The European Tour have five men contested a play-off – that coming in the 1992 BMW International Open in Munich when Paul Azinger beat Glen Day, Anders Fosbrand, Mark James and Bernhard Langer.
But fast forward 19 years and, once again, five men were required to move into extra holes; George Coetzee, Mark Foster, Pablo Larrazábal, Bernd Wiesberger and Björn after finishing the regulation 72 holes on 11 under par 277.
Of the quintet, Coetzee’s closing 67 had been the most impressive while a play-off would not have been required at all had Foster made par five at the last for a 71 instead of a bogey six for a 72.
Into sudden-death, played continuously over the 533 yard 18th, Wiesberger dropped out at the first time of asking with a bogey six as did Larrazábal, second time round.
The remaining trio all produced birdie fours on the third occasion before Foster’s hopes of his second Tour win disappeared on the fourth extra hole where, like the 72nd hole, he made bogey six.
It left only Björn and Coetzee standing but the Dane made sure of his 12th European Tour title, and his second of the 2011 season, at the fifth time of asking with a birdie four to the South African’s five.
To order your copy of The European Tour Yearbook 2012, a 240-page, full colour hardback Official Publication with iconic pictures by Getty Images and essays from some of the game's top writers that takes you every step of the way through 52 tournaments and 29 destinations on The 2011 Race to Dubai, click here.