Dodd Holds Off Bjorn to Win 10th Volvo China Open

Sun 28 Nov 2004

Dodd Holds Off Bjorn to Win 10th Volvo China Open


Shanghai, November 28: Briton Stephen Dodd claimed his maiden professional victory when he held off a determined Thomas Bjorn of Denmark to lift the US$1 million Volvo China Open today.


The 38-year-old Welshman beat Bjorn by three strokes after a final round of four-under-par 68 gave him a winning total of 12-under-par 276 in the US$1 million championship, jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.


Bjorn's recent revival fell short at Shanghai Silport Golf Club as he settled for his second runner-up finish in two months following a 68. Thai duo Chawalit Plaphol and Thaworn Wiratchant shared third place after shooting 66 and 68 respectively, tying for third spot with Australian Jason Dawes who scored a hole-in-one on the eighth en route to a 66 in the 10th Volvo China Open.


Despite his first triumph, Dodd was lost for words in describing his career breakthrough. "All I wanted to do was to go out and do my very best and that's what I did. Sometimes it's not in your own hands. Sometimes, the other person plays really well and you can't do much about it. But fortunately, it was my turn to play well," said Dodd, who won US$166,660.


"I really can't put it to words, to be honest, I'm just delighted that I won. My emotions at the moment? I really don't know what to say. Maybe you can ask me that tomorrow," added Dodd.


Dodd and Bjorn turned in 35 before the Welshman, who held an overnight three shot edge, surged ahead to a four-stroke lead after birdies on 10, 11 and 13. Bjorn had birdies on 10, 12 and 15 and trailed by only two after Dodd dropped a bogey on 17 with a three putt.


However, the quiet man from Cardiff split the fairway on the par five 18th hole with a mighty drive and after finding the green in two with another excellent shot, he broke into a smile. Two putts and a birdie later, he soon hoisted the new Waterford Crystal trophy commissioned for the 10th year celebration of China's national Open. He was also given a golden Chinese traditional jacket. "It's a bit tight, I need to loose some weight," said Dodd, who was making his 166th appearance on the European Tour this week.


Bjorn (pictured) tipped his cap to the victor as he continued his revival from a recent dip in confidence. "There was not much I could do, he played really well. From the sixth through 13th, I can't play any better. He made birdies I didn't hole. Then I made that charge and I can't play much better than I did in those stretch of holes, and that's where you need to turn the tournament around and Stephen did all the right things.


"I said yesterday if I shot 67 I could win the tournament but I wouldn't have come close. I needed to shoot a 65 to match him and on this golf course, it's a lot. You just have to take your hat off to him. Here's a win for the good guy and Stephen is definitely one of the good guys."


Bjorn needed a stroke of good luck to reel in the leader but his chip on 13th hit the flag and he subsequently missed the birdie putt. The Dane could only rue his missed opportunity as Dodd drained his birdie attempt on the same hole which gave him back a four-shot edge.


"I nearly holed it for two (on the 13th) and walk off with a four, that's golf. Sometimes they go for you, sometimes it doesn't. Unfortunately, it's another second place for me. You've got to take some good from that. You want to win golf tournaments but when you come up with a guy who plays as well as Stephen did, you just say well done," said the big Dane.


Thaworn (pictured), runner-up here last year, nearly quit the second round when temperatures were bordering freezing cold on Friday. But he was certainly pleased that he hung around for the weekend, shooting a blemish free card that had four birdies.


"I like this 68. No bogeys on this course is very good as it's a tough layout. I didn't drive the ball well but my putter worked very nicely. I holed some nice birdies and made some par saves as well. It is nice to see Chawalit finishing on six-under as well. It looks good for Thai golf and also the Asian Tour. It is a shame that an Asian player couldn't win this week but conditions did favour the Europeans," said Thaworn, who needed to wear four layers of clothes during his final round.


Australian Dawes, winner of last season's Taiwan Open, shot the tournament's only hole in one at the eighth hole with a six iron. It was the 12th ace of the season on the Asian Tour and will go down into the record books as the first of the new 2005 European Tour International Schedule.


India's Amandeep Johl and England's Steve Webster shared sixth place on 283.


Leading final round scores

276 - Stephen Dodd (WAL) 68-70-70-68

279 - Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 71-72-68-68

282 - Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 75-69-72-66, Jason Dawes (pictured) (AUS) 68-74-74-66, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 71-74-69-68

283 - Steve Webster (ENG) 70-75-70-68, Amandeep Johl (IND) 68-76-70-69

284 - Jonathan Lomas (ENG) 72-71-72-69, Barry Lane (ENG) 68-75-70-71, S?ren Hansen (DEN) 70-71-70-73

285 - Mark Foster (ENG) 70-72-71-72, Chung Joon (KOR) 69-72-72-72, Gregory Havret (FRA) 71-75-67-72, Simon Yates (SCO) 70-73-70-72

286 - Liang Wen-Chong (CHN) 72-74-73-67, Anthony Wall (ENG) 73-72-71-70, Bradley Dredge (WAL) 67-75-70-74

287 - David Park (WAL) 73-77-70-67, Peter Lawrie (IRE) 72-78-70-67, Damien Mcgrane (IRE) 71-74-73-69, Mads Vibe-Hastrup (DEN) 69-77-68-73

288 - Chris Williams (RSA) 72-72-73-71, Paul Broadhurst (ENG) 73-73-71-71

289 - Andrew Pitts (USA) 69-77-74-69, James Kingston (RSA) 69-78-70-72

290 - Edward Michaels (USA) 72-72-74-72, Philip Golding (ENG) 71-75-70-74

291 - Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 72-78-73-68, Wang Ter-Chang (TPE) 72-74-73-72, Zhang Lian-Wei (CHN) 69-76-74-72, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 70-76-73-72, Matthew King (ENG) 68-73-77-73, Maarten Lafeber (NLD) 74-75-70-72, Rick Gibson (CAN) 70-79-68-74