Atwal Enjoys Play-Off Win at Maybank Malaysian Open

Sun 09 Mar 2008

Atwal Enjoys Play-Off Win at Maybank Malaysian Open

Kuala Lumpur, March 9: Indian star Arjun Atwal defeated defending champion Peter Hedlbom of Sweden in a gripping play-off to triumph in the Maybank Malaysian Open on Sunday.
Atwal edged his rival at the second play-off hole at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club with a par on the par three 17th hole as Hedblom bogeyed with a disappointing three-putt. It was Atwal?s seventh triumph on the Asian Tour and his second Malaysian Open title which he also won in 2003.

"A win is a win and it?s been five years and I?m glad that I got it done," said a delighted Atwal, who earned the top cheque of US$333,330.

Atwal started the final day seven shots back but charged into contention in the weather-disrupted final round with a 64 as Hedlbom posted a 71 as both players settled for a four-day total of 18-under-par 270. The Swede agonizingly missed a birdie putt at the 72nd hole for the win.

On the first play-off hole on the 18th hole, Hedblom found the water off the tee but scrambled for a miraculous par which as matched by Atwal. At the next play-off hole on the 17th, Atwal got saved par after missing the green and Hedblom relinquished his title by three putting from 40 feet.

"It hasn't sunk in yet. When it does, I'll let you know. Right now, I'm in a different world.

"The playoff wasn?t pretty. After he hit it in the water, I wanted to hit it anywhere left and I was a little tight on my swing. Pulled it a little bit and got an awful lie in the right and didn't catch it solid and then hit the bunker shot fat. But I somehow got it into the hole.

"But unfortunately for Peter, he three putted and I made that putt for par on 17," said Atwal.
Hedblom was left licking his wounds after his three putt on the second play-off hole.

"It was a good defence. You are never happy when you lose and I thought I had a good chance to win. I am proud of myself for the way I defended my title and the putts I holed. 15, 16 and 17 I holed some great putts under pressure. Unlucky to three putt this last play-off hole," said Hedblom.

"Play-offs are not my thing. I have played three on The European Tour now and lost them all. Hopefully I can get a better record soon," said Hedblom.

Australia's Kane Webber shot his best round of 65 and finished in a tie for third place alongside English talent Simon Dyson who was in the thick of the fray before a dropped shot on the 16th ended his title charge.

Webber, who won his maiden title at the 2006 Macau Open, enjoyed a slam dunk on his third shot on the par four 13th hole and grabbed a share of the lead before a dropped shot on the 15th hole. He replied with a birdie on the following 16th hole and with a four foot putt remaining on the last hole for birdie, Webber left it short to settle for tied third place.
"It was a perfect shot for birdie on the last hole. A little uphill and right to left was all that was needed but I didn't hit it hard enough and left it short.
"But the 13th hole was great. I was solid off the tee and chipped out in my second shot. Using a lob wedge was the key on the following shot 75 yards from the pin. That was a nice boost heading home," said the US based golfer who produced his second top-10 on the Asian Tour this season. He had previously finished tied seventh at the Sail Open in New Delhi last month.
Having enjoyed four wins in Asia, Dyson seemed to be heading for a fifth triumph in the region before the suspension disrupted his plans.
?The break killed me. I could have won if we carried on. I just didn?t hit a bad shot coming in. I played a great shot into 15 but the worst bounce you?ve ever seen. Missed the green but got up and down,? said Dyson.

Leading final rounds scores
270 - Arjun Atwal (IND) 70-68-68-64, Peter Hedblom (SWE) 66-68-65-71
(Atwal defeated Hedblom in the second play-off hole)
271 - Kane Webber (AUS) 67-71-68-65, Simon Dyson (ENG) 64-71-67-69
272 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 67-69-71-65, 273 - David Lynn (ENG) 70-68-70-65, Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 67-65-70-71, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 71-66-67-69, Daniel Vancsik (ARG) 65-72-64-72
274 - Johan Edfors (SWE) 72-68-69-65, Darren Clarke (NIR) 69-68-67-70
275 - Keith Horne (RSA) 65-72-72-66, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 64-72-72-67, Graeme Storm (ENG) 69-68-70-68, Carlos Rodiles (ESP) 66-69-71-69, Scott Barr (AUS) 68-68-68-71
276 - Gary Murphy (IRL) 70-67-73-66, Chinnarat Phadungsil (THA) 67-70-70-69, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 68-69-69-70, Graeme Mcdowell (NIR) 66-68-71-71, 277 - Scott Strange (AUS) 66-71-72-68, Peter Lawrie (IRL) 69-67-72-69, David Frost (RSA) 70-67-70-70, Nick Dougherty (ENG) 62-70-72-73, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 65-68-69-75
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