(Reuters) – England’s Paul Casey fired a closing round 65 to surge through the field and set up a play-off victory over compatriot Oliver Wilson in the Volvo China Open at Shenzhen Golf Club. Casey, who won €184,533 (£126,354) for his fifth European Tour title to move to second on the 2006 Order of Merit, had trailed overnight leader Ross Fisher by six strokes in joint 15th place but his superb finish set a 13 under-par total of 275 which only Wilson could match.
Ryder Cup player Casey played the first play-off hole, the long 18th, impeccably for a birdie four while Wilson could muster only a bogey six after finding two bunkers on the way to the green.
Englishman Casey is making a habit of excelling in China. His last Tour victory was achieved here in March when he pipped Ryder Cup team mate Paul McGinley to the TCL Classic in Hainan Island, also after a play-off.
The 27 year old also finished seventh on his last visit to China in the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai earlier this month.
“I feel very happy. I feel like I have accomplished what I came here to do, it wasn’t easy but the game improved as the week went on which I was happy about. Today was a very solid round of golf and I gave myself a lot of chances.”
Casey, the pre-tournament favourite, had looked out of the running after rounds of 71, 69 and 70 but he barely put a foot wrong in the final round, stringing together birdies at the third, fourth, sixth, eighth, 11th, 12th and 17th holes.
He should have added another at his 72nd hole with a huge drive at the par-five, 539-yard 18th leaving him a mid-iron second to the green. His chipped third from the edge of the putting surface finished well short, however, and he took two further putts to hole out for a five.
Wilson, 25, who is in his second year as a Tour professional, had a golden opportunity to win his debut title at the same hole but he too needed three shots from a similar position to Casey's to complete a par five for a round of 69.
“It is disappointing not to win obviously but I am still on track,” he said. “My goal was to try and win here or in Hong Kong so maybe I can do it next week. It is a good start to the season for me and I have to try and keep doing what I have been doing.
“My time is going to come as I’ve only really been on Tour for about a year. There’s plenty of time and hopefully it will be soon.”
Compatriot and former England amateur colleague Ross Fisher, who held the lead overnight, had a closing par 72 and had to settle for joint fourth at 11 under behind another Englishman, Barry Lane (68). Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol, who led the first two rounds, finished tied with Fisher after a 71. Lian-Wei Zhang, the only Chinese player to make the cut, finished tied seventh on nine under (279) after a closing 72.