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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > Mercedes-Benz Championship > Round 4


James Kingston takes title in a playoff

South African James Kingston ended a recent run of poor form decisively by defeating Denmark's Anders Hansen in a sudden-death playoff for the Mercedes-Benz Masters title on Sunday.

Both players had finished on 13-under-par 275, a stroke ahead of the field. A late bogey for a three-under 69 took Kingston to extra holes after Hansen had set the target with a 67.

A par on the first playoff hole earned Kingston the $457,000 first prize for his second European Tour title.

Late developer Kingston, 43, ended a run of four successive missed cuts but showed some of the fragility that had seen him fall at the final hurdle several times in his nine-year European career.

Ahead by two strokes with two holes to go at Gut Larchenhof, a three-putt bogey by Kingston on the 17th, where Hansen had birdied just beforehand, meant the pair shooting it out.

When they played the 18th for a second time in the day, Hansen flew his second shot into the back greenside bunker and failed to get up and down from six feet.

Kingston's solid two putts, the second from four feet for par, ended the contest.

The success added to Kingston's victory in last season's South African Open which came after four European Tour second places.

Until that win Kingston, although finding great success on his home Sunshine Tour and in Asia, had struggled to make his European Tour breakthrough.

"The last few weeks have been so frustrating and it's great to prove myself away from South Africa," Kingston told reporters. "This was a bit harder, especially as this was such a strong field."

He added: "I hit the ball unbelievably from to tee-to-green, which has always been my strength but my putting was not so good right up to the end and if I want to win more I have to work on it."

Kingston now moves into Europe's elite top 60 players who will contend the $10 million Dubai World Championship finale, climbing from 116th to 46th.

He named 52-year-old Bernhard Langer, who finished nine shots behind him, and British Open runner-up Tom Watson as his inspiration in finding the winning touch at 43.

"You look at people like Bernhard and Tom Watson at 59 for your example," said Kingston. "If you stay fit like them you can still be competitive."

Overnight leader Peter Hanson of Sweden (71) lost the chance of being involved in the playoff when he missed a four-foot putt to bogey the 17th. Hanson finished tied third with first round leader Soren Hansen of Denmark (70) and Briton Simon Dyson (70).

September 14, 2009


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