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Golf: Thongchai storms to seventh European Tour title

Thongchai celebrates his third European Tour title outside Asia. Photo: European Tour.

Thongchai celebrates his third European Tour title outside Asia. Photo: European Tour.

September 28, 2015: Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee held off a strong challenge from Graeme Storm to capture his seventh European Tour title by one shot in the Porsche European Open at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach.

 

With Storm in the clubhouse on 16-under after a 67, the Englishman having holed a 12-foot par putt on the tricky closing hole, the pressure was on Thongchai, whose one shot advantage looked slender when his approach hit the greenside hospitality unit and he required a protracted ruling with his ball lying in between re-laid turf.

 

Unperturbed by the untimely incident, the calm 45-year-old chipped up to eight feet and holed the putt for par, sealing a bogey-free round of 67 and winning total of 17 under par to claim the prestigious title, which returned as part of The Race to Dubai for the first time since 2009.

 

“It’s a very special week for me. It is the third time I have won outside of Asia, so I’m very excited about that and I’m happy to win this tournament. I’m feeling very confident at the moment. I didn’t make many mistakes this week – only one bogey all week. I played very nicely and 17 under is some score for me,” Thongchai said.

 

“I liked the golf course. It’s not very long and you have to keep it in play. Graeme Storm played very well too. It was very exciting on the last three holes. The 18th is tough and you can’t miss the fairway. I had to go left and then it was a good chip and a good putt at the last to win.”

 

Thongchai is only the second Asian player to win the European Open title, following Japan’s Isao Aoki, who won the title at Suningdale Golf Club in 1983. It was his third victory on European soil following the 2012 ISPS Handa Wales Open and last year’s Nordea Masters in Wales.

 

Storm had to settle for finishing runner up for the second time in the European Open, 10 years after claiming the same position behind his close friend Kennie Ferrie at The K Club. The Englishman, who lost in a play-off to David Lipksy in last year’s Omega European Masters, has the consolation of securing his European Tour card for next season, and after moving up to 66th position on the Race to Dubai, he has now set his sights on a place in November’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

 

Sweden’s Pelle Edberg finished third on 14 under par after a round of 69 with Australia’s Scott Hend a further shot back in fourth after a 65. Another Swede, Rikard Karlberg, followed his maiden victory at last week’s 72° Open D’Italia presented by Damiani by closing with a round of 67 to share fifth place with Dane Lucas Bjerregaard (68) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson (70) on 12 under par.

 

Bernhard Langer, the two-time Masters Champion, finished as the leading German on eight under par. The 58-year-old closed with a round of 69 for a share of 24th place at the course he co-designed.

 

Source: European Tour (www.europeantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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