Sunday, 28 August 2011
Thomas Bjorn   (Getty Images)
Thomas Bjorn (Getty Images)
Thomas Björn held his nerve in a five man play-off to win the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
 
After the 40 year old carded a final round three under par 69, he was joined on 11 under by Mark Foster, who missed the chance to wrap up victory on the 18th hole, George Coetzee, Bernd Wiesberger and Pablo Larrazábal in the five hole play-off.
 
In sudden-death, Wiesberger and Larrazábal, with a bogey six, dropped out at the first two holes and, after the final trio all made four on the third, Foster dropped out on the next after shooting a bogey six.

Björn, fourth in the 140th Open Championship last month, holed from three feet away, but Coetzee made a 12 footer to take it into a fifth hole where the Dane sealed victory with a birdie.

“I didn't really see that coming after my two weeks in America. But I played nicely this week. I played fantastic on Thursday and I played great today,” Björn said.

“I didn't putt the best and probably should have done better than I did today. In the end, it was all down to Mark's mistake really on the last, but that happens in golf.

“And what we were doing now, five guys in a playoff, you're probably as relaxed as you'll ever be in a playoff, because a lot of things have got to go right for it to go your way.

“But the way I played the last three playoff holes, I can't be more proud of what I did.”

During the final round, Foster, who had slipped two shots behind after Ignacio Garrido birdied the first two holes, eagled the second before taking advantage of the Spaniard's mistakes to hold a three shot lead after eight holes.

However, heading into the 18th needing to make par to win the competition, the Englishman shot a bogey to see him fall to 11 under par and create the play-off, which Björn duly accepted.

“I played good. Greens were tricky. I didn't hole one putt,” Foster said.

“Again, I holed one putt in two days, and I'm out in a playoff. So you know, I've just got to keep going.”
South African Coetzee birdied the first, and, despite a bogey on the third, five more birdies saw him equal yesterday's five under par 67 to give himself a chance.

“I think I did well. I stayed with it. I'm quite happy with the way I handled it,” Coetzee said.

“I'll take second place, it's an improvement on my best finish. Next time I'll go one better. Hopefully.”

Spain’s Larrazábal eagled the second and birdied the ninth, tenth and 14th and Austria’s Wiesberger mixed three birdies and an eagle with two bogies as they both finished with three under par 69's.

Swede Joel Sjöholm slipped down the leaderboard following a six on the four par first before six birdies, including three consecutive starting on the 13th, saw him finish 10 under par after his best round of the week, a four under par 68.
 
Stephen Gallacher, from Scotland, overcame a bogey on the first to make five birdies, including consecutively on the eighth and ninth and 13th and 14th, but another bogey on the 15th restricted his progress as he finished with a three under par 69.  
 
Former Ryder Cup player Garrido, who shared the overnight lead with Foster, had gone two shots ahead after birdieing his first two holes but finished two shots off the lead after his final round two over par 74 contained six bogies.
 
Victor Dubuisson of France, who made a late surge up the leaderboard, birdieing the 14th and 17th and eagleing the 16th, finished with a final round five under par 67 and Kenneth Ferrie birdied the final hole to finish on nine under par.
 
England’s Kenneth Ferrie, who shared the lead earlier this week, finished nine under thanks to three birdies, including one on the final hole, in his final round of 69, while Scotsman Marc Warren bogied the last to finish with a level par 72.
 
Defending champion Edoardo Molinari will have to sacrifice his crown after shooting a fourth round 71, with bogies on the fifth, seventh and 13th overshadowing four birdies, and Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, playing his 555th European Tour event, ended with a two over par 74, putting him six over.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-11
T2COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-11
T2LARRAZÁBAL, PabloESP18-11
T2WIESBERGER, BerndAUT18-11
T2FOSTER, MarkENG18-11
T6SJÖHOLM, JoelSWE18-10
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