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Korhonen claims play-off glory in China

Korhonen claims play-off glory in China

Mikko Korhonen won his second European Tour title with a play-off victory over Benjamin Hebert at the Volvo China Open.

Mikko Korhonen

The Finn entered Sunday three shots behind overnight leader Hebert and, along with Jorge Campillo, the three playing partners produced a dramatic final round at Genzon Golf Club.

Korhonen and Hebert completed 72 holes in 20 under par - one shot clear of Campillo - and a birdie from 11 feet at the first trip back up the 18th handed the 38-year-old the trophy and the golden jacket.

He has now won in back to back seasons after his triumph at the Shot Clock Masters and moves into the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

"It’s an amazing feeling," he said. "I don’t know how I did it but it’s probably the putter that was my winning formula this week. I made lots of putts from outside 15-20 feet this week.

"Winning a golf tournament is never easy. It was a battle all day as everyone was making putts and I had to stay patient and do the same.

"It’s great to have this second win in the bag and I’m delighted."

For Hebert - a six time winner on the European Challenge Tour - it is a second close shave in his quest for a European Tour victory after he lost in the final of the Belgian Knockout last season.

"Looking at the way I played, I’m happy," he said. "Mikko played great today and he didn’t make any mistakes and putted well.

"I’m still chasing my first win. I got close this week and I have to be more consistent and see what happens."

Campillo moved up to second in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex with a fifth top three in his last six starts, including last week's maiden triumph at the Trophée Hassan II.

Korhonen rolled in a very long right to lefter on the first, with Campillo making a birdie-birdie start, but Hebert also made gain on the par five second to be two ahead.

Campillo found a nasty lie on the fourth and Hebert was three ahead again but it was all change on the next.

Just like on the first, Korhonen rolled in a long putt for birdie with Campillo following him in from 15 feet and, with Hebert making a first bogey of the day, the lead was cut to one.

The Finn was flying and a ten foot putt on the next had him in a share of the lead but he missed the green at the par three eighth and slipped back to 16 under.

Hebert sent his second on the ninth right but got a nice bounce off a tree, allowing him to get up and down for birdie, with Campillo also making a gain.

Campillo rolled in from 18 and 15 feet on the tenth and 11th to make it a hat-trick of birdies but Korhonen was inside him on both occasions and followed him in.

A tee shot to eight feet on the 12th handed Campillo a two shot lead but Hebert and Korhonen both birdied the par five 13th after laying up and a Campillo bogey on the 14th after finding the water meant there was a three way tie.

Campillo and Hebert both hit poor tee shots on the next and missed short par putts but Korhonen's time at the top on his own did not last long, as his two rivals hit wonderful tee shots on the par three 16th to bounce back with birdies.

The rain began to pour down with the final group on the 17th fairway and with all three players laying up, it was Korhonen who holed from around 13 feet to take a one shot lead up the last.

The 18th tee had been brought up and Hebert took out the driver and hit the green at the par four, sealing a birdie and a place in the play-off as Campillo and Korhonen made pars.

Home favourite Li Haotong had a birdie-birdie finish in his 66 to secure solo fourth at 16 under, a shot clear of countryman Wu Ashun, French pair Romain Langasque and Mike Lorenzo-Vera - who equalled the lowest round of the week with a 64 - American David Lipsky and England's Jordan Smith.

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