Three birdies in four holes over the back nine helped Scott Strange win the Volvo China Open after a final round 68 gave the Australian a one stroke victory at Beijing CBD International Golf Club.
Strange began his final round four strokes adrift of overnight leader Richard Finch but birdies at the fifth and eighth saw him move into contention with the leaderboard becoming more congested as the final day's action progressed.
A par putt at the 12th slid by the hole but it proved a temporary setback as birdies at the 14th and 15th were followed by another at the 17th when he drained a putt from around 15 feet after finding the left side of the green with a nice approach.
A solid par at the last sealed an eight under par total and victory ahead of Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño.
Last year’s The Celtic Manor Wales Open champion Strange underlined it was a solid rather than spectacular week that enabled him to take the title.
“I didn't tear the golf course apart but I played the golf course the best way I could and produced a score which ended up winning,” he said.
“I had a peek on the board on 12 and I knew there was a log jam there. I didn't really know if I'd won when I holed that putt at the last.
“The boards weren't there, I wasn't looking at them, so I didn't think I was leading until I holed that putt at the last.”
Finch endured a tough front nine, posting three bogeys as he went out in 38. A birdie at the tenth reignited his challenge but further opportunities went begging as Strange eventually took charge. He finished with a two over 74.
Fernandez-Castaño, playing alongside Finch, signed for a 72 after a birdie at the last saw him finish level for the day and claim second place.
Hall and Brown, who both broke the course record in the third round, carded 71 and 69 respectively to tie for third alongside Finch on six under, the latter leading for a period before bogeys at the 11th and 14th and a double bogey at the 12th extinguished the New Zealander's hopes.
Finch was philosophical about seeing victory slip through his fingers.
“I'm a little disappointed, obviously 74 is not the final round I was looking for at all but positives are that I played the long game really well, I was delighted with how I struck the ball, gave myself plenty of chances for birdies but just didn't convert really,” he said.
“That was disappointing then I think I got a bit guilty of trying too hard, trying to think of my technique and change that, I'd hit one a bit too hard then I'd leave one short in the middle and I just didn't quite get my eye in like I did yesterday.
“That's the way it goes, you've just got to take it on the chin so that's that.”
|DEL MORAL, Carlos||ESP||18||Par|