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Marcus Fraser ends seven year title wait

Marcus Fraser was close to tears after breaking a seven-year title drought with a wire-to-wire victory by four strokes at the weather-shortened Ballantine’s Championship on Jeju Island on Sunday.

The 31-year-old dropped only his second shot of the week on the final hole for a three-under-par 69 to win his first European Tour title since his maiden triumph at the 2003 Russian Open.

“It’s unbelievable… I can’t describe it. I don’t know how I did that today, it’s really blown me away,” Fraser, who held a one-stroke lead after the chaotic first two rounds, said in a greenside TV interview.

“I’ve had so many chances to win in the last seven years that I just didn’t know if it would ever be my day, but today it was,” he added, fighting back the tears.

Northern Irishman Gareth Maybin also dropped a shot at the last for a round of par 72 to share second with Fraser’s compatriot Brett Rumford, whose 71 also put him at eight-under.

Local hope Noh Seung-yul hit an eagle in his 68—the best round of the day—and was the top Asian finisher in fourth place a further shot back alongside Briton Oliver Fisher (71).

Three-times major winner Ernie Els, who had been chasing his third win of the year after successes at the WGC-CA Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month, shared ninth after a third round 74.

The $2.9 million tournament, also sanctioned by the Asian Tour, had been reduced to three rounds after six hours of the first day’s play were lost to heavy fog.

“I don’t know if I had anything left in me if I had to go out another day and play a fourth round,” said Fraser.

“But I don’t care. I worked my butt off the last few years to get back into a position where I should be winning golf tournaments so its a huge reward.”

Fraser was one of only 36 players to complete his opening round on Thursday and that seven-birdie 65 was the foundation of his victory.

On Sunday, the world number 232 managed three fewer birdies but again kept his error count down to bank a cheque for half a million dollars.

With a five-stroke cushion going into the last, Fraser was still taking no chances and laid up to take the bogey.

“I just hit the fairway down the last and thought there’s no way I am going for that green after my playing partners missed it left and right,” he said.

South African Els looked like he might be a threat to Fraser after birdying his first two holes and picking up three shots on the front nine, but three bogeys and a double bogey after the turn ended his challenge.

Thailand’s defending champion Thongchai Jaidee (75) dropped shots on his last two holes to finish alongside Els and three others at five-under.

Scores

BALLANTINE'S CHAMPIONSHIP RELATED STORIES





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