Jacquelin Completes Dominant Triumph in Bmw Asian Open

Sun 22 Apr 2007

Jacquelin Completes Dominant Triumph in Bmw Asian Open

Shanghai, April 22: Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin completed a dominant start-to-finish victory at the star-studded BMW Asian Open on Sunday, lifting the title by two strokes after a wet and wild final round.

Jacquelin, who held the lead from the first day, fired a one-over-par 73 to complete the US$2.3 million tournament on 10-under-par 278 with Dane Soren Kjeldsen settling for runner-up place at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club after also a 73.

Scott Hend of Australia and Scotsman Simon Yates, both regulars on the Asian Tour, finished equal third while Korea's Lee Sung was tied fifth alongside world number five Ernie Els and Richard Sterne, both from South Africa, and last week's winner Markus Brier of Austria on 282.

"It is a fantastic moment. It is difficult to take the lead in the first round and keep it to the last. It was more difficult the last four or five holes. When you are in a position to win it is always difficult to finish but to be a winner you have to finish. I am really happy. It is my second win so it is not a surprise any more," said a beaming Jacquelin, who pocketed US$383,330.

Taking a one-shot lead into the last day, where tee times were brought forward due to the inclement weather forecast, Jacquelin seized full advantage of the calmer conditions earlier on by streaking into a four-shot lead with an outward 33.

The weather turned in the morning, with gusting winds and a heavy downpour greeting the players and sending scores spiralling but Jacquelin was able to comfortably protect his lead despite coming home with four bogeys.

The BMW Asian Open was Jacquelin's second career wire-to-wire victory following his 2005 Open de Madrid victory.

As if the heavy rain had not soaked him enough, a group of French players helped with his celebrations, popping champagne bottles and pouring it over Jacquelin on the 18th green.

"I had the chance to start pretty well. This morning was calm and we had a lot of chances on the front nine and that is what I did. Three under after nine and I was pretty confident for the last nine. Then the wind picked up and the rain and it was tough from the 12th to the 18th. My shots were not so good so I played for the good side of the green and try and save par," he said.

Hend, who enjoyed his second straight top-three to signal his full recovery from a serious hand injury, lamented a double bogey at the treacherous par three 14th. "When I had a chance to put some pressure on him, I hit a shot on the par three and it got caught in a wind gust and the ball floated up and dropped into the water. I actually hit a good shot there," said Hend, a former US PGA Tour regular.

"I hit some good shots and didn't make birdies and when I made mistakes, I was penalised for it and made bogey. It was unfortunate."

Yates battled gallantly all day until a costly double bogey at the last hole saw him slip from second place to a share of third, costing him nearly US$130,000 in prize money. "It was difficult out there with the wind and everything. It wasn't easy," said Yates.

"I was playing nicely, just hitting greens and that's what you have to do in that weather. Suddenly I just had a bad last hole. The rain got to me. On the first putt, that's the fastest putt I had all week. It kept rolling, rolling and rolling. I left myself four feet coming back and missed it."

Els, the highest-ranked player in the BMW Asian Open this week, was never a factor and a three-putt bogey on the second hole en route to a 72 dampened his hopes. "I hit the ball from tee to green pretty well but my putter let me down most of the week.

"I had a good first nine holes of the tournament with good putting and yesterday evening as well but the rest of it, the putting hasn't been good. I needed to get off to a good start but unfortunately I three putted the second hole," said the Big Easy, winner of the 2005 BMW Asian Open.

As the champion of the 2007 BMW Asian Open, Jacquelin will receive more Official World Golf Ranking points than this week's winner on the US PGA Tour, thanks to the strength of field in Shanghai. The Frenchman also qualified for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

The BMW Asian Open attracted a record attendance of 15,000 spectators this year and will be held once again in Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in 2008.

Leading final round scores

278 - Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 66-69-70-73

280 - Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 67-72-68-73

281 - Scott Hend (AUS) 69-70-67-75, Simon Yates (SCO) 74-69-64-74

282 - Richard Sterne (RSA) 70-74-69-69, Lee Sung (KOR) 68-70-71-73, Ernie Els (RSA) 71-71-68-72, Markus Brier (AUT) 71-69-68-74

283 - Graeme Mcdowell (NIR) 73-70-69-71

284 - Kane Webber (AUS) 71-73-69-71, Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 70-69-72-73, Simon Dyson (ENG) 70-70-70-74, Andrew Mclardy (RSA) 72-70-67-75, Joakim Backstrom (SWE) 70-69-68-77

285 - Scott Barr (AUS) 71-70-72-72, Retief Goosen (RSA) 71-74-69-71, Peter O'Malley (AUS) 73-72-68-72, Colin Montgomerie (SCO) 69-70-69-77

286 - Jason Knutzon (USA) 75-70-70-71, James Kingston (RSA) 74-71-71-70, Tony Carolan (AUS) 69-74-69-74, David Bransdon (AUS) 76-68-68-74, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 72-69-70-75, Adam Blyth (AUS) 71-73-67-75, Soren Hansen (DEN) 71-70-67-78


For further information, please contact Asian Tour's Chuah Choo Chiang at the BMW Asian Open media centre +86 21 5833 8600 ext. 831. Also visit www.asiantour.com for live scoring.