Henrik Stenson claims title in playoff
Sweden's Henrik Stenson eagled the first hole of a three-man sudden-death playoff to claim the BMW International Open title at Nord Eichenried on Sunday.
Stenson's putt of no more than four feet clinched his second trophy this year to end the hopes of rivals Padraig Harrington of Ireland, his Ryder Cup team mate, and South African Retief Goosen. The trio finished a shot clear on 15-under-par 273.
The Swede made the playoff by birdieing the 72nd hole to sign for a four-under 68 and match Goosen, who holed an eight-footer for eagle on the last hole of regular play to set the target with a 67.
It looked as though it would be a four-man playoff after Harrington, carding a 69, missed a 12ft birdie putt on the last.
However, his playing-partner and last year's Munich champion David Howell of Britain was denied a place in the shootout when his two-footer for birdie failed to drop on the last.
Howell's closing 72 left him in a share of fourth place with another Swede, Martin Erlandsson (70).
Stenson admitted that his sudden-death finale had an element of luck about it as the ball skipped off a mound and out of the rough almost straight right and up to the hole, instead of embedding itself.
"Sometimes you need those sort of lucky bounces," Stenson said after adding to his Qatar Masters title in early season and two second places this year that earned him his Ryder Cup debut.
"This week has proved good practice for what's coming at the K Club," said the winner, who picked up $425,000.
The tournament was the final event to count for Europe's Ryder Cup table and the closing day's play decided the last two automatic qualifying places, with Irishman Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal hanging on to their positions in the top 10.
Although Olazabal slipped to 10th place in the table and McGinley moved up to ninth, both made it to the K-Club match with the United States comfortably in the end.
Rivals Paul Broadhurst, Johan Edfors and Thomas Bjorn could not find the performances needed to affect the Ryder Cup table.
Stenson ended a lull in form and the Munich tournament was also a success for several more of Europe's Ryder Cup qualifiers, even without them tasting victory.
Harrington had to settle for, remarkably, his 29th second place either side of the Atlantic in nine years.
Although he failed to go one better than his runner-up spot behind John Daly in the 2001 version of this event, the Irishman was pleased to hit form once again.
He felt it had dipped since his second place in the French Open in early July, the finish that earned him his K Club place.
Howell has also experienced a lean spell but looks to have ended it with 18 days to go before the the Ryder Cup starts.
As well as the top five, two more of Ian Woosnam's team were a further shot back, Colin Montgomerie, who played the final round after returning from a Robbie Williams concert in Glasgow where he paraded the Ryder Cup on stage, and Luke Donald.