Friday, 19 March 2010

(Reuters) - Australian Brett Rumford chipped in for birdie at the first extra hole to defeat England's Phillip Archer in a sudden-death play-off for an emotional victory in the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

Rumford and Archer had finished locked together on 16 under par 268, a stroke ahead of defending champion Bradley Dredge of Wales.

The leading pair both bogeyed the par four 17th hole and both also missed 15 foot putts for birdies on the last to win outright, Archer setting the target with a closing six under par 65 and Rumford matching him with a 68.

Playing the 18th again as the first play-off hole, Rumford slid home his chip 30ft from the left fringe to claim the €333,330 first prize as Archer's chip from the back fringe just missed.

Recalling his final shot, Rumford said: “You are just suspended there for that brief second in anticipation and there is nothing going through your mind but get in. It was tracking all the way and I thought it was coming up short but the breeze took it in. My short game has pulled me through this week.”

While his chip-in finale settled the outcome, Rumford set up his win over three pivotal holes, the 11th and 12th, which he birdied, and the 13th, where he holed a 35ft putt to save par.

Victory signalled the end of a lean run for Rumford, who had been lying only 106th on The European Tour Order of Merit.

"It's been a pretty tough year," he said. "This has proved very emotional and I had to have five minutes in a back room when it all hit me.

"I've been trying hard, grinding week in week out for not much but at last it's all come together this week."

Rumford, who had also had to battle with a neck injury the previous day, upstaged the Europeans trying to make a fast start in the year-long race to make Europe's 2008 Ryder Cup Team.

Runner-up Archer had the consolation of picking up 222,220 points in Europe's first counting event for The Ryder Cup.

"I hit three good shots and lost, you can't do anything about that, every credit to Brett," said Archer, whose previous best finish was this year's tied second place in the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia behind former European Number One Lee Westwood.

Dredge missed the chance of joining the play-off when his 12ft birdie putt went by on the final hole for a round of 69.

"It has been a good week but it would have been nice to have holed one or two more putts," Dredge said. "I hope I've sealed my Seve Trophy place though."

He finished a stroke better than fellow Welshman Sion Bebb, who shot a 68, to finish fourth, his highest European Tour finish.

“I am delighted and got a top ten for The Belfry,” said Bebb. “I said yesterday I didn’t think I would get into any more tournaments this year so I have one more now. There was a lot of pressure on the last round but I thought I handled it pretty well. Anything under par for me today would have been a good score and I would take 68. The money doesn’t matter for the card, just me and maybe I can buy my wife something nice with it.”


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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1ARCHER, PhillipENG18-16
T1RUMFORD, BrettAUS18-16
3DREDGE, BradleyWAL18-15
4BEBB, Sion EWAL18-14
5WILSON, OliverENG18-12
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