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Wednesday, 03 June 2015
Day 4 Highlights - DDF Irish Open

Søren Kjeldsen ended his six year wait for a European Tour title after he won a three way playoff at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.

The Dane birdied the first playoff hole to deny Bernd Wiesberger and Eddie Pepperell, the latter earning the considerable consolation of a place at St Andrews for the Open Championship in July.

Kjeldsen had begun the day two strokes ahead of the field but tentatively secured his place in the playoff after shooting a final round 76.

The 40 year old, who had not won since the 2009 Open de Andalucía de Golf, held his nerve when it counted up the 18th for a second time as he saw his birdie putt rattle around the cup before falling in.

Pepperell had produced one of the rounds of the final day as he defied the windy conditions to shoot a bogey-free 69 – only four players shot under par rounds today – and set the clubhouse mark at two under.

Wiesberger joined the young Englishman with a final round 73, but they were left to wait on Kjeldsen who was a stroke ahead with two holes to play.

Kjeldsen had bogeyed both during his third round and when he three putted the 17th, he was left to hold his breath as a par putt at the 18th only just dropped to ensure he was a part of the playoff.

He recomposed himself superbly to take immediate control on the extra hole with a drive down the middle of the 548 yard par five. The Dane then reached the green with his second stroke while Wiesberger and Pepperell took longer routes.

Pepperell was unable to chip in to keep his hopes alive and when Wiesberger then failed with a 20 foot putt from the back of the green, Kjeldsen was left to stroke home his winning putt – albeit after the ball rolled around the hole.

"Three weeks ago I was 112th in the Order of Merit and my game was not in good shape," Kjeldsen said.

"With turning 40 (a fortnight ago) you wonder was that it? Now I am standing here and it's pretty remarkable really."



Soren Kjeldsen receives the trophy from Colm McLoughlin the Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free (click for more photos)

Kjeldsen had led going into the final day of his previous three wins on The European Tour, but had to battle nerves after his overnight lead was wiped away on the very first hole by playing partner Max Kieffer.

He dropped four strokes on the opening nine, including a double bogey at the eighth, although his rivals also struggled in the treacherous conditions.

That allowed him to claim back the lead with the only birdie of his final round at the par five 12th before further bogeys at 14 and 17.

"The last breath I took was on about the 14th," Kjeldsen said.

"I have never been as nervous as this in the other tournaments I have won.

“I had decided not to look at leaderboards but once I started dropping shots I started looking because it gave me a little pleasure that I wasn't the only one struggling because it was such a brutal day.

"I was leaking shots left, right and centre but made a great up and down on 15 and the three-wood second shot in the play-off was pretty special."

Pepperell found plenty of reason to be content with his round after he started the day seven shots adrift of Kjeldsen.

The 24 year old will now play at his first Open Championship, where he will be joined by fellow young Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, who edged out Rafa Cabrera-Bello for a St Andrews place after they finished in a tie for fourth place on one under.

“It's great. It didn't cross my mind until I walked off the 18th and my caddie told me,” said Pepperell, who picked up his shots on the eighth and 13th.

“That's a real bonus, and I know my dad and a few friends had already planned to go up there regardless. So I'll be looking forward to it already.”

Pepperell shot a 67 on Saturday to draw himself back into contention, and added: “I had a good weekend, good day today and put myself into a position where I had a chance to win.

“On the whole I'm very pleased I think.”

Wiesberger was similarly happy, after enduring a tough time at Wentworth last week, although he admitted he was surprised to come up short with his approach into the green on the playoff hole.

“I thought I hit a really good three iron, it was right online,” he said.

“I don't know how it came up that short.  It was like 15-20 yards short from what I expected from that lie.”

The Austrian then chipped to the back of the green to leave him with too much to do.

“Just two bad chips on 18 that kind of cost me in the end to go to another extra hole,” he said.

“But all in all, especially after last week, the way I played there, I have to be very proud and I'm quite happy with second place, and especially going into my favourite event in a couple weeks, I hope I can go one better.”

PHOTO GALLERY

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KJELDSEN, SørenDEN18-2
T2PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-2
T2WIESBERGER, BerndAUT18-2
T4HATTON, TyrrellENG18-1
T4CABRERA-BELLO, RafaESP18-1
T6WILLETT, DannyENG18Par

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