Peter Hedblom clinches narrow victory
Swede Peter Hedblom made immediate amends for a playoff defeat the previous week by winning the Johnnie Walker Championship on Sunday.
Hedblom held off a charge by Martin Erlandsson to win by a stroke from his compatriot with a closing five-under-par 67 for a 13-under aggregate of 275.
Like the week before in the Netherlands, Hedblom led going into the final round, but this time finished the job after being put under pressure by Erlandsson’s spectacular finale, a 62.
Beginning the day a stroke ahead of the field, four successive birdies from the seventh proved the key to the 39-year-old’s third European Tour victory and a $380,000 prize.
Erlandsson nearly repeated the feat of Britain’s Dutch Open winner Simon Dyson by starting the day six strokes behind Hedblom and would have earned the Centenary course record but for preferred lies.
Hedblom’s sudden resurgence in form, rising over 100 places on Europe’s money-list in two weeks, has taken even him by surprise.
“This year has been unbelievable because I had played very poorly until last week,” Hedblom told reporters.
“I felt a lot more confident playing the first nine holes today than I did last week and that was the key to winning.
“I feel as if I’ve got my career back on track now and hopefully this can lead to bigger things like playing in majors and world championships.”
Erlandsson’s $256,000 prize will enable him to climb from 135th on the money-list to virtually ensure a card for next season.
“It came to me around the 11th-12th (hole) that this could mean the card for next year but I managed to put that out of my mind and stay in the present,” the runner-up told reporters.
Last year’s winner Gregory Havret (67) of France and first and second round leader Paul Lawrie of Britain (69) tied for third place, three shots behind Hedblom.