Friday, 19 March 2010
Johnnie Walker Championship - Round Four  (Getty Images)
Johnnie Walker Championship - Round Four (Getty Images)

Swede Peter Hedblom spoke of his delight after winning his first title on European soil by capturing the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. 

The 39 year old secured his third European Tour victory after overhauling compatriot Martin Erlandsson on a day of high drama at The Gleneagles Hotel venue.

Hedblom, who led going into the final round for the second consecutive tournament, shot a five under par 67 to erase the disappointment of losing a sudden-death play-off to England's Simon Dyson in last week's KLM Open.

He finished one ahead of his rival after Erlandsson, joint 20th overnight, had set the clubhouse target with an astonishing 62, the lowest round of his life and the best score recorded over the PGA Centenary Course. But for the preferred lies rule in operation, Erlandsson's score would have lowered the course record by a stroke.

After a magical nine birdies in his first 12 holes the World Number 365, who last week closed The KLM Open with a course record-equalling 63, had moved from six behind to two in front. Erlandsson added another birdie on the short 17th to lay down an impressive marker to the leaders, who were still on the front nine at the time.

However, Hedblom grasped the nettle and reeled off four birdies in a row around the turn as well, but he then failed to get up and down from rough left of the 15th green.

So one more birdie was needed and it came with a superb pitch to four feet on the long 16th. Then two closing pars gave him the victory with a 13 under total of 275.

Defending champion Grégory Havret and Scotland's former Open Championship winner Paul Lawrie shared third place.

Hedblom said: “That was so tough. I thought last week was, but this was harder. It feels unbelievable.

“I had to dig down so deep, but I am so happy. What a round Martin played - I couldn't believe it and he should have won.

“I just had to plug on. I hit a great shot into 16, but making two pars was even harder.

“This year has been unbelievable. I played so poorly (not a single top 30 finish) until last week. I want to play in the big tournaments, but I keep taking one step back. Hopefully this is two steps forward.”

Erlandsson, whose seven successive birdies from the sixth was a The European Tour best for the season and only one short of the all-time record, has had chances to win before and admits he has struggled with the mental side.

As a result his psychologist, a former international hurdler, advised turning his mind to other things when under pressure.

“I was looking at my thumb and wondering how it looked,” he said to a quizzical media. “I was also trying to look at a tree or somebody in the audience to keep my mind at peace. I got off to a good start and that helped my confidence and I really enjoyed it and played free and that was the key.”

Meanwhile, Lawrie remained upbeat despite the defeat. He said: “I had four good ball striking days last week, so we are now two events in a row where I've hit it like I want to hit it, and I think it was extremely close this week."

Havret, whose chances of a repeat victory disappeared with a second round 76, finished strongly with a round of 67 to underline his love of playing in Scotland.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HEDBLOM, PeterSWE18-13
2ERLANDSSON, MartinSWE18-12
T3LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-10
T3HAVRET, GrégoryFRA18-10
5ORR, GarySCO18-9
T6KAPUR, ShivIND18-8
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