Burhmann Ends 11-Year Wait With Victory at Aamby Valley

Sun 14 May 2006

Burhmann Ends 11-Year Wait With Victory at Aamby Valley

Aamby Valley City, India, May 14: South African veteran Hendrik Buhrmann ended an agonising 11-year wait for a first title in Asia when he claimed a two-stroke victory at the inaugural Aamby Valley Asian Masters on Sunday.

The 42-year-old Buhrmann carded a final round of one-under-par 71 for a winning total of 11-under-par 277 at the magnificent Aamby Valley Golf Club to win ahead of Simon Hurd, who closed with a 73 in the US$400,000 Asian Tour event.

Australian Terry Pilkadaris finished third, a further stroke back, following a 70 while compatriot Marcus Both took fourth place on 283. India's Ashok Kumar who had led on the back nine, faded badly with a 78 and settled for a share of fifth place.

A winner of eight titles in South Africa, Burhmann has always yearned for success in Asia which he regards as his second home and it took all his years of experience and fighting qualities to finally end his drought.

"I'm feeling great. I said earlier in the year to some people that you know what, my dream is to win on the Asian Tour before I die. They really laughed at me but I really meant it. A few months later, I've got my dream come true. I'm really happy," said Buhrmann, who picked up a cheque of US$63,400.

"We all need money but the win for me is so fantastic. I'm just over the moon."

Tied for the overnight lead with Hurd and Kumar, Buhrmann battled gamely under tough and windy conditions. At the end, it was a par save on the seventh, a par five, and a superb eagle on the 12th which proved crucial.

"I hit my three wood second shot into out of bounds on the seventh and it didn't come off and I said "Come on, you can do that".  I dropped another ball and hit the same shot again which was probably the shot that turned the whole game around. If that shot didn't come off, I would have been in a bad frame of mind. I was really proud with that world class par. That was the best par I've ever made in that condition with a lost ball," said Buhrmann.

With Ashok stumbling with a disastrous inward 43, Hurd became Buhrmann's only challenger but the Englishman's hopes dipped dramatically when he ran up a double bogey on the 17th to fall two shots back with the last hole to play.

The fashionable Englishman blocked his tee shot into the treacherous rough, hacked out and needed two more shots to be on the green before lipping out for a six. "Simon made double on that hole which gave me a two shot lead and that was a big relief as I know I'm going to hit a two iron from off the 18th tee and it's always going to be there. I felt good about it and I'm happy for that."

Hurd, a former regular on the European Tour, took home a consolation cheque of US$43,400. "The double on 17 did me in. I hit a great tee shot and went five yards into the rough and I had no shot. But to be fair, Hendrik deserves it. He got away with it on 17 with a terrible tee shot and got that bit of luck he needed. He's 42 years old and he deserves it as he's a nice guy," said Hurd.

"I had 18 putts on the back nine. I didn't hole a putt coming in. It was one of those days. I've got many more years to go and I'm chuffed for him. But I'm gutted for myself. I gave it my best but it wasn't meant to be. I'll try to win next week. My aim was to quickly win my card for next year and I'm quite close to it now," said Hurd.

Kumar was disappointed to falter when it mattered the most. "It was very disappointing on the final day. I thought I played good golf for three days and even after the front nine I was very much in there. But what really got me was the bogey on the par-five 12 th. From there I just kept slipping. Then I had a four-putt on the 16th for a double bogey.

"One of the big letdowns over the last two days was my putting. I need to work on that a lot. Still I would say I am happy that I got myself into a position to take a shot at the win. I am sure I will win soon. This was a great experience."

Leading final round scores

277 - Hendrik Buhrmann (RSA) 66-75-65-71

279 - Simon Hurd (ENG) 67-70-69-73

280 - Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 72-71-67-70

283 - Marcus Both (AUS) 70-71-70-72

284 - Garth Mulroy (RSA) 74-68-70-72, Simon Griffiths (ENG) 68-72-67-77, Kane Webber (AUS) 69-74-66-75, Ashok Kumar (IND) 67-66-73-78

286 - Anthony Brown (AUS) 73-71-73-69, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 73-69-74-70, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 74-69-68-75

287 - Bryan Saltus (USA) 71-70-76-70, Michael Wright (AUS) 71-77-69-70, Craig Warren (AUS) 73-75-68-71, Keith Horne (RSA) 68-75-72-72

288 - Anthony Kang (USA) 74-74-69-71, Rahul Ganapathy (IND) 74-69-69-76

289 - Amandeep Johl (IND) 71-75-74-69, Darren Griff (CAN) 73-71-70-75, Barry Hume (SCO) 70-72-72-75

290 - Jason King (AUS) 71-72-76-71, Yasin Ali (ENG) 71-72-71-76

291 - Iain Steel (MAS) 72-72-69-78