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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > Ballantines Championship > Round 4


Thongchai Jaidee claims win in a playoff

Thongchai Jaidee won the Ballantine’s Championship on Sunday after beating South Korea’s Kang Sung-hoon and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano on the first hole of a playoff.

The 39-year-old Thai clinched his fourth European Tour title when he made birdie on the par-four 18th, the first hole of the playoff at the $2.9 million tournament.

“When we got to the play-off, I knew that I would stand a good chance as I had just finished playing that hole about 15 minutes ago,” Thongchai said of winning his 12th Asian Tour title. “I knew the distance well and I was ready.”

Fernandez-Castano lost his opportunity in the playoff when his second shot went through the back of the green, while Kang disappointed the locals when he pushed his six-foot birdie putt wide after he and Thongchai had reached the green in two shots.

The 22-year-old Kang, who hails from Jeju Island, also threw away a one-shot lead in regulation with a bogey on the last hole of a round which featured two eagles.

Thongchai, who had begun the day four shots behind overnight leader Robert-Jan Derksen, finished on four-under 284 for the tournament at the Pinx Golf Club.

He started the day strongly with a birdie at the par-four first and another at the fourth before he dropped a shot at the fifth. Picking up another birdie at the 10th, he held par for the rest of the round to post a two-under 70 and forced his way into the playoff.

“The tournament is never finished and you never know who is going to win the tournament until the last day,” Thongchai said. “I just had to believe in myself that I can do it.”

Fernandez-Castano made the biggest charge of the day after starting five shots behind Derksen, taking a share of the lead with compatriot Pablo Martin at the turn on the back of two birdies and an eagle three at the fourth.

The 29-year-old mixed two birdies with two bogeys on the home stretch to finish with a 69, while Martin’s challenge collapsed on the back nine when he shot three bogeys and a double bogey six at the 13th for a 76.

Kang made an eagle on the par-five 10th and another on the par-five 16th to combine with two birdies on the front nine, although the bogey at the last ruined his chance of winning a first European Tour title.

Derksen, who had a two-shot lead entering Sunday’s final round, also slumped to a 76 after three bogeys on his front nine and finished on two-under.

The Dutchman finished in a tie for fourth with Britain’s Seve Benson (69), Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello (70) and South Africa’s three-times major winner Ernie Els (71).


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