Brier Enjoys Five-Stroke Triumph at Volvo China Open

Sun 15 Apr 2007

Brier Enjoys Five-Stroke Triumph at Volvo China Open

Shanghai, April 15: Austrian Markus Brier enjoyed a five-stroke victory after firing a final round of four-under-par 67 at the Volvo China Open on Sunday.

Brier blasted a winning total of 10-under-274 total and emerged as the first Austrian to triumph at a co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour event.

The Austrian enjoyed a comfortable five stroke win over Australia?s Scott Hend who was even-par on the final day together with Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland who shot a 69 and South African Andrew McLardy who scored a 70 in joint second place at the Shanghai Silport Golf Club.

?I dreamt about winning yesterday and thought it would be good. The Volvo China Open is a great tournament to win. I have been to China quite a few times and I have always played well,? said Brier, who won the BA-CA Golf Open, presented by Telekom Austria on the European Tour last year. He previously won the event in 2002 and 2004 when it was staged on the Challenge Tour. All three tournaments were held at Fontana Golf Club which was his home course in Vienna.

The win at the Volvo China Open was Brier?s maiden triumph outside of Austria where he walked away with the top prize of US$333,330.

Hend, who is playing in his first ever season on the Asian Tour, earned US$149,140 for his efforts this week and leaped to fourth spot on the Asian Tour?s UBS Order of Merit with total earnings of US$189,420.

With softer greens due to overnight showers, the 38-year-old champion was quick of the start striking two birdies on the second and third holes before suffering a dropped shot on the fourth. Brier, who turned pro in 1995, then pulled away from Hend with two more birdies on the eighth and ninth holes. The Austrian ended his round in style with a five foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for the win.

?I tried not to think too much about winning today and I was fortunate not to be too nervous on the last three of four holes. I holed some long putts and my putting was very good because the greens were in good shape. That was the key as I didn't hit it really close but holed a lot of five, six and seven yard putts,? admitted the champion.

?It makes me feel like a better player now as at home I always had the home advantage. It is a very good win here and it was the next step to win abroad,? added Brier.

Hend, who was two under after nine holes, was disappointed with his run on the back nine when he suffered two straight bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes. He slipped down the leaderboard with a third bogey on the 17th but pulled one back with a birdie on the last hole.

?I am pretty disappointed. I hope to digest it. But I?m sure I?ll put this behind me by tomorrow,? said Hend, who delivered a similar result at the Pakistan Open in January.

?It was a good final hole though. I struck it well and had a six inch tap in. The sad part was I three putted the 17th hole for bogey so it wasn?t too pleasing but it was nice to finish with a birdie.

?All credit to Markus. He played great. But I am disappointed I played the back nine on two over par. If I had finished one shot behind him I would be satisfied with where I was but I was fortunate to play well enough to come in second,? added Hend.

South African Richard Sterne ended his Shanghai campaign with an eagle at the par five 18th hole for a 280 total in lone fifth spot.

Thailand?s Prayad Marksaeng, who claimed third place at the TCL Classic last month, conquered the greens on the final day with a bogey free 65 that included six birdies as he claimed joint eighth place alongside France?s Jean-francois Lucquin.

?I was putting really well today and the conditions were more forgiving as the first two rounds. I always enjoy coming here and I?m happy with my position this week ,? said Prayad.

Sweden?s Steven Jeppesen established a new course record of 63 today to finish in tied 14th place. He bettered the previous record of 64 set by James Kingston in 2002.

Leading final round scores

274 - Markus Brier (AUT) 72-68-67-67

279 - Graeme Mcdowell (NIR) 70-70-70-69, Andrew Mclardy (RSA) 72-70-67-70, Scott Hend (AUS) 71-67-70-71

280 - Richard Sterne (RSA) 70-71-69-70,

281 - Peter O'Malley (AUS) 74-71-67-69, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 68-67-75-71

282 - Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 71-74-72-65, Jean-Francois Lucquin (FRA) 73-68-71-70

283 - David Griffiths (ENG) 72-71-69-71

284 - Miles Tunnicliff (ENG) 73-74-71-66, Brett Rumford (AUS) 72-72-70-70, James Kingston (RSA) 71-72-70-71

285 - Steven Jeppesen (SWE) 72-74-76-63, Unho Park (AUS) 70-74-72-69, Peter Hanson (SWE) 72-72-70-71, Garry Houston (WAL) 71-73-70-71, Robert-Jan Derksen (NLD) 70-72-71-72

286 - Simon Wakefield (ENG) 75-69-77-65, Simon Yates (SCO) 73-66-77-70, Scott Strange (AUS) 74-68-73-71