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Friday, 19 March 2010
Reuters - Austrian Markus Brier was coolness personified as he claimed his second European Tour title with a comfortable five-stroke victory at the Volvo China Open.

The 38 year old overnight leader, who had his first win at his home open last year, made the most of the improved weather at the Silport Golf Course to shoot five birdies and a single bogey for a final round 67 and total of ten under par 274.

Despite the absence of the swirling winds that had caused havoc in earlier rounds, no one was able to put any pressure on Brier, and South African Andrew McLardy, Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell and Australian Scott Hend shared second on five under.

"It feels great," Brier said after picking up his cheque for $333,330. "You always think you can win at home because you know the conditions and it's comfortable, but this a big step for me to prove that I can also win abroad."

Brier, whose two European challenge tour wins also came at his home Fontana course in Vienna, started with a par at the first before sinking birdie putts from 10 and six feet at the next two holes.

A wayward drive left him behind a tree in the long rough at the fourth and he missed a 20-footer to save par, but Hend, who had also birdied the second, was failed to sink his birdie putt to share the lead.

Brier found his putting touch again for birdies at the eighth and ninth with Hend, a former U.S. Tour player, matching his score at the ninth to stay in touch.

After Hend had bogeyed the first two holes after the turn, however, there was no pressure on Brier and he parred his way to the 18th where he signed off with a birdie flourish.

"Nobody came charging up the field and that made it more comfortable," said the Viennese.

Hend also birdied the last to finish with a par 71 and a share of second with McLardy, who shot a 70, and McDowell, who had a 69.

McLardy's compatriot Richard Sterne chipped in for an eagle at the last to take sole possession of fifth on four under. Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, who led after the first two rounds, and Australian Peter O'Malley were joint sixth.

Sweden's Steven Jeppeson showed that good scores were finally going to be possible on Sunday when he set a new course record with nine birdies in an eight-under 63.

Prayad Marksaeng looked on course to match Jeppeson when he picked up six shots by the 11th but the Thai was unable to make further inroads and finished with a 65 and a share of eighth, the top Asian finisher.

Brier's victory at the $2 million tournament was the first for a European Tour player in the last four events co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.

Liang Wenchong and Zhang Lianwei were the best of the seven Chinese players to make the cut, finishing at five over for a share of 31st.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BRIER, MarkusAUT18-10
T2MCLARDY, AndrewRSA18-5
T2MCDOWELL, GraemeNIR18-5
T2HEND, ScottAUS18-5
5STERNE, RichardRSA18-4
T6JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-3
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