Sunday, 25 November 2007

(Reuters) – Home favourite Aaron Baddeley held his nerve to seal his first MasterCard Masters title after a marathon sudden-death play-off win over Sweden's Daniel Chopra.

Baddeley recovered from heavy rough at the fourth attempt to separate the pair to par the 18th hole, while Chopra's five foot par putt slid just wide to give the 26 year old Australian the Gold Jacket.

Both players finished regulation play on 13 under par 275 in the tournament’s second year as a co-sanctioned event between The European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia after Baddeley had carded a closing two under par 70. Overnight leader Chopra finished with a one under par 71.

"In the play-off I felt like I was swinging the club really well. I just kept hitting the same shots and felt that I'd wear him down," said Baddeley, who learned his game at the Huntingdale Golf Club course.

"Every play-off hole I had the chance to win and it was Dan who was saving it to keep it going but I really had to scrap to win that final playoff hole. But it really feels great to win at home. It's fantastic."

Australia's Stuart Appleby, who had led until the final hole, double bogeyed the 18th for a three under par 69 and dropped to third on 11 under par 277. 

Peter O’Malley took fourth while England’s Dave Horsey had the round of the final day, shooting a seven under par 65 with eight birdies and a bogey to jump from a third round tie for 30th to a share of fifth on nine under par 279 with another two Australians, Peter Lonard and Rod Pampling.

Five players shared the lead as the final pairing of Chopra and Kurt Barnes made the turn for home, though one by one they all dropped shots over the last nine holes.

Appleby had looked to be in control after sinking a 30 foot par putt on the 15th, before Chopra chipped in from the edge of the green at the same hole to retake a share of the lead.

He then produced an inch-perfect approach shot on the 16th to set up another birdie and take the lead.

Baddeley birdied the 17th to move into outright second on 13 under before he made par on the 18th, while Chopra two putted for a bogey on the 17th and parred the 18th to finish on the same score and send the pair into their marathon play-off.


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