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Randhawa wins Volvo Masters in playoff

India 's Jyoti Randhawa won one of the most memorable showdowns in recent times when he beat Australian Terry Pilkadaris in a play-off to lift the US$550,000 Volvo Masters of Asia title today.

Randhawa drained a 15-foot birdie putt in the second hole of a sudden-death shootout at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club to end the Asian Tour season on a glorious note. The Indian's victory, worth US$99,000, was his first success this year and prevented Pilkadaris from a third title in four months.

The Aussie hauled himself into contention with an impressive seven-under-par 65 in the final round but Randhawa forced a play off by holing an eight-foot birdie at the par five 18th hole in regulation en route to a 67.

Overnight co-leaders Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand and Wang Ter-chang of Chinese Taipei shared third place after matching 72s while Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee, last year's Volvo Masters of Asia winner, finished fifth to lift the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown.

In the play-off, Randhawa and Pilkadaris birdied the first extra hole, played on the 18th. Pilkadaris looked to have wrapped it up by setting up a seven-foot birdie chance while Randhawa sent his chip well past the flag. But in a stunning turn-around, the Indian star rolled home his putt and with the pressure on, Pilkadaris agonisingly missed his attempt to end the gripping contest.

"It was a great finish," said Randhawa, whose triumph in the Volvo Masters of Asia earned him an invitation into next year's WGC-NEC Invitational. " This was one of the most exciting rounds of golf I've played since my Indian Open win in 2000 which also had a tight leaderboard. It was nerve-wracking but I handled myself well and I was very focussed. Dropping shots yesterday put me in a good position as I didn't have anything to lose.

"I don't know how I did it. I knew I needed to birdie the last hole in regulation but jumped on my tee shot and pulled into the trees. I managed to find a gap in between the trees and hit a fabulous nine iron to the flag to nine feet. It's amazing. Then I had two great drives in the play-off and made two great putts," added Randhawa, who had a four-day total of 14-under-par 274.

Randhawa said the win was timely as he started doubting his game following a winless year where he also plays his golf in Japan . "I started to doubt myself after making a few swing changes. I've not won for nearly two years but my coach Kel Llewellyn told me to be patient. It's a great thing to win as my confidence will just go up.

"It's a nice Christmas present. I'll put in a thousand dollars to make it US$100,000 in total. Anytime you win, it is significant. Terry played great, I wished him well and applauded some of his shots as he played some good golf," said the 32-year-old Indian, whose win was his fifth career title in Asia .

Pilkadaris, whose wife Monique was on caddying duties here, was in hot form as he surged into contention with a seven birdie round. The leaderboard was so closely knitted, with Thailand Prayad and veteran campaigner Wang making it a four-way tie on the back nine.

Pilkadaris had a chance to wrap it up in regulation but missed a short birdie attempt on 18. "It would have been nice (to win). That putt on 18 in normal time, if I had holed out from seven feet, that would have sealed it. I played great, I had a good day. You can't complain if you lose to a birdie. I was seven feet away and it is a bitter pill to swallow. Jyoti hit two great drives down on 18 (in the play-off) and hit two great putts. He's a good player," said Pilkadaris, who ended the season fifth on the money ranking.

Thai star Thongchai sealed the Order of Merit title comfortably in his title defence of the Volvo Masters of Asia. In total, he won US$381,929 from nine tournaments, which is a new record for money won in a single season. Randhawa finished second with US$351,709 while Simon Yates of Scotland was third on the ranking with US$310,988.

"It feels good, I'm really happy," said Thongchai, who was Asia 's number one in 2001. "Compared to three years ago, winning the Order of Merit this season feels better as I've played only nine tournaments. The standard of play is so much better now and it's harder to win these days.

"My year's highlight was probably winning the Carlsberg Malaysian Open as I made a hole in one in the final day and the event was a European Tour tournament. I wasn't happy that I couldn't defend my title this week as my putting was a big let down," added the Thai, who also won this year's Myanmar Open.

Final round scores

274 - Jyoti Randhawa ( IND ) 63-70-74-67, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 70-70-69-65

( Rand hawa wins in second hole of sudden-death playoff)

276 - Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 68-69-67-72, Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 69-66-69-72

278 - Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 70-72-68-68

279 - Edward Loar ( USA ) 70-68-71-70

281 - Marcus Both (AUS) 70-68-72-71, Ted Oh (KOR) 70-71-67-73

282 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 71-70-72-69, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 69-73-69-71, Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 67-73-68-74, Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 69-69-68-76

283 - Pablo Del Olmo (MEX) 71-71-73-68

284 - Gary Rusnak (USA) 69-75-72-68, Thammanoon Srirot (THA) 72-73-71-68, Rick Gibson (CAN) 72-75-68-69, Chung Joon (KOR) 70-73-71-70, Craig Kamps (RSA) 68-70-72-74, Sushi Ishigaki (JPN) 70-69-71-74, Lee Sung-man (KOR) 68-71-71-74, Liang Wen-chong (CHN) 68-67-73-76

285 - Kyi Hla Han (MYN) 72-71-72-70, Hendrik Buhrmann (RSA) 74-73-68-70, Prom Meesawat (THA) 73-69-69-74

286 - Chris Williams (RSA) 69-74-76-67, Charlie Wi (KOR) 72-72-72-70, Scott Barr (AUS) 71-72-71-72, Jason Knutzon (USA) 70-73-70-73, Simon Dyson (ENG) 68-76-68-74

287 - Harmeet Kahlon (IND) 69-76-72-70, Lu Wen-teh (TPE) 71-71-73-72

288 - Andrew Pitts (USA) 72-72-74-70, Boonchu Ruangkit (THA) 72-69-77-70, Edward Michaels (USA) 74-73-71-70, Chang Tse-peng (TPE) 69-77-72-70, Choi Gwang-soo (KOR) 70-71-76-71

289 - Simon Yates (SCO) 70-70-73-76, Clay Devers ( USA ) 71-70-71-77

290 - Mo Joong-Kyung (KOR) 74-74-73-69, Amandeep Johl ( IND ) 69-78-73-70

291 - Bryan Saltus (USA) 74-75-72-70, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 73-71-75-72, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 74-69-72-76, S. Sivachandran [A] (MAS) 69-74-72-76, Adam Fraser (AUS) 73-71-71-76

292 - Kang Wook-soon (KOR) 69-74-71-78

293 - Eiji Mizoguchi (JPN) 79-71-69-74, Chen Yuan-chi (TPE) 74-69-74-76, Richard Moir (AUS) 72-68-73-80

294 - Anthony Kang ( USA ) 70-74-75-75

296 - Angelo Que (PHI) 74-72-78-72

297 - Greg Hanrahan ( USA ) 76-76-75-70, Unho Park (AUS) 72-71-73-81

300 - Eddie Lee (NZL) 72-77-75-76

301 - Norachet Juntapun [A] (THA) 80-74-70-77

302 - Panuwat Meunlek [A] (THA) 76-78-72-76

303 - Lim Eng Seng [A] (MAS) 74-76-77-76

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