Mikael Lundberg of Sweden overcame England's Andrew Butterfield after a thrilling four hole sudden-death play-off at the dual ranking Cadillac Russian Open to secure the top prize of €67,599 as well as a potentially priceless one year exemption to The 2006 European Tour International Schedule.
Both players finished the regulation 72 holes in 15 under par 273, with Butterfield posting a quite spectacular back nine total of just 30 shots at Le Meridien Moscow Country Club to force the tournament into extra holes.
Lundberg, playing in the last group of the day, stepped onto the 18th tee knowing he needed a birdie to beat Butterfield in normal time, and that looked unlikely when he drove into the fairway bunker. But a remarkable second shot from the sand saw the 32 year old land his ball just five feet from the cup to set up a birdie chance to win the tournament.
His missed opportunity meant that the Cadillac Russian Open would become the 13th play-off on the 2005 European Tour International Schedule, and the third sudden-death shoot-out in the history of the Cadillac Russian Open after Michele Reale beat Heiz-Peter Thuel in 1997 and Marcus Fraser’s victory over Martin Wiegele in 2003.
With the Russian crowds gathered around the 18th green, Butterfield and Lundberg made their way to the tee for the first extra hole. They halved in par four after the Englishman made a great up and down from the greenside bunker. Butterfield then had his best chance to take the title as they came down the 18th for the second time, but pulled his three foot par putt left of the cup and allowed Lundberg to half with a bogey five.
After halving the 18th at the third time of asking, the play-off moved to the par five 17th, where both players hit cracking drives down the middle of the fairway to set up good opportunities to go for the green in two. Lundberg was first up and piled the pressure on Butterfield by finding the small green with a great three wood that came to rest around 30 feet from the hole and gave him a great eagle chance.
Butterfield then sent his approach just to the left of the putting surface and left himself an awkward chip that he sent to the other side of the green – 40 feet from the pin. The Englishman almost holed his birdie chance but had to settle for a par five, leaving Lundberg the luxury of lagging his eagle put down to the hole before tapping in for victory.
“This is incredible, a dream come true,” beamed Lundberg. “I came out today and tried to stick to my game-plan which I did. I played quite safe, especially after 12 holes when I had a couple of shots advantage but then Andrew played some great golf to catch up with me. But I am just very happy to have come through the play-off.
“Having my European Tour card is a great feeling – not only for me but for my whole family. It feels fantastic.”