Edfors Enjoys Sweet Victory at TCL Classic

Sun 19 Mar 2006

Edfors Enjoys Sweet Victory at TCL Classic

Sanya, China, March 19: Swedish sensation Johan Edfors enjoyed his biggest career win when he lifted the US$1 million TCL Classic title after a final round of four-under-par 68 on Sunday.

Edfors, 30, was two strokes off the pace going into the last day but he came through with flying colours at Yalong Bay Golf Club and collected the winner's cheque of US$166,660 after a four-day total of 25-under-par 263.

Talented Australian Andrew Buckle, who finished runner-up in the Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open two weeks ago, settled for second place once again after closing with a 70 to finish one back while Thai ace Prayad Marksaeng, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour, finished third after a blazing 65.

England’s Nick Dougherty, who finished second best in the OSIM Singapore Masters last weekend, claimed fourth position after a 69 while Chinese Taipei’s Lu Wen-teh and India’s Gaurev Ghei struck matching 66s and shared fifth spot, four strokes off the pace in the event jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

A disappointing closing 75 for overnight leader David Howell of England saw him tumble down to equal seventh place alongside India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, who carded a 70 and South Africa’s Waren Abery, who shot a 69.

Last year’s winner Paul Casey of England finished with a 68 in tied 10th place alongside Edward Loar of United States who scored a 70.

A delighted Edfors said: “It’s been a couple of frustrating years. I had the game but never had the opportunity to show it. I started working on new coaches last year and it paid off, and now I’m definitely looking forward to the future.”

Edfors window of opportunity came when the leading pack began to crumble on the final round. Howell struck a wayward drive straight into the hazard in the third hole for a double bogey while Buckle, who trailed by one at the start of the day, followed suit with a double bogey at the fifth.

Edfors started with bogeys on the second and third but fought back gallantly to birdie the fourth and sixth holes. The Swede, who has two wins on the European Challenge Tour, remained at the top after knocking in birdies on the ninth, 12 and 13th holes but was chased down by Buckle who bounced back with birdies at the seventh, 11th and 13th holes for the joint lead.

Despite a dropped shot on the 15th, Edors birdied the 16th and drained his winning nine foot birdie putt on the closing hole. Buckle needed a birdie at the par four 18th hole to force a play-off but agonizingly missed.

“I bogeyed two and three and missed an easy birdie on the first hole and was disappointed, I thought I didn’t have a chance. I was walking down the ninth and realized that I was tied for the lead and after that I knew that I had a chance,” said Edfors.

“I hit my driver well and nearly eagled on the 12th, that was good. On the second shot (18th hole), I was pretty confident that I had picked the correct club and told myself to calm down. This is the shot I was waiting to hit all my life where I then managed to birdie,” said Edfors.

Despite the narrow miss by Buckle at the end, the Aussie was satisfied with his performance.

“I had eagle putts on 13 and 16 and it would have been nice to get one of those. But I also holed some good par putts so pleased with that,” said Buckle.

“I lost concentration on the fifth hole, hit a terrible shot. Apart from that it was pretty good. I am enjoying my golf and will keep learning and see what happens,” he said.

Similar sentiments shared by Prayad who produced his lowest round of the tournament.

“I played well this week, hit my irons well, chipped well and putted well,” said the Thai.

“I had a new putter this week which certainly helped. I was aiming for a top ten and I’m delighted I finished so well. I am trying to perform well in these tournaments as I will spend some time in Japan in the middle of the year and it is important to do well this year,” he added.

It was truly a sensational final round as there were three hole-in-ones. Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant, last season’s Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, fired the tournament’s third ace at the par three third hole as he finished tied 25th position.

Young compatriot Prom Meesawat struck the second hole-in-one of the day at the fifth hole to finish tied 16th position while his superb feat was matched by local talent Li Chao who also successfully aced the fifth as he settled for tied 25th position.

 Leading final round scores


193 - David Howell (ENG) 64-63-66

194 - Andrew Buckle (AUS) 63-66-65

195 - Johan Edfors (SWE) 66-66-63

197 - Nick Dougherty (ENG) 66-67-64

198 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 69-63-66

199 - Edward Loar (USA) 62-69-68

200 - Joakim Haeggman (SWE) 63-69-68, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 66-66-68

201 - Lu Wen-Teh (TPE) 69-68-64, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 67-69-65, Lin Keng-Chi (TPE) 67-67-67

Yalong Bay Golf ClubPaul Casey (ENG) 65-68-68, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 65-67-69, Daniel Vancsik (ARG) 66-65-70

Ariel Canete (ARG) 65-66-70

202 - Ari Savolainen (FIN) 66-69-67, Soren Hansen (DEN) 66-69-67, Paul Mcginley (IRL) 69-65-68, Amandeep Johl (IND) 70-63-69, Wang Ter-chang (TPE) 66-67-69, Warren Abery (RSA) 63-68-71

203 - Matthew Millar (AUS) 68-67-68, Christopher Hanell (SWE) 67-68-68, Scott Strange (AUS) 68-64-71

204 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 69-70-65, David Griffiths (ENG) 68-67-69, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 66-69-69