King of the Mountain

Sun 29 Mar 2009

King of the Mountain

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Hua Hin, Thailand, March 29: Sweden's Johan Edfors endured some heart-stopping moments before completing a wire-to-wire victory at the Black Mountain Masters on Sunday.



Big-hitting Edfors fired a four-under-par 68 in the final round at the Black Mountain Golf Club to triumph by two shots over Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng and England's Chris Rodgers in the inaugural US$500,000 Asian Tour event.



Prayad charged up the leaderboard with a superb 64 and gave himself every chance of retaining his 50th place on the world rankings and earn a ticket to the US Masters in two weeks time. He will need to wait until the completion of the tournaments in Europe and United States later on Sunday to know his fate.



Indian rookie Anirban Lahiri produced an eye-catching 68 for fourth place after fighting for the lead down the straight while countryman Gaganjeet Bhullar broke the course record with a stunning 63 to finish tied fifth alongside Thai duo Chapchai Nirat (67) and Thongchai Jaidee (68).



It was a timely victory for Edfors, who had not won a title following his bumper 2006 season where he triumphed three times on the European Tour. But victory, thanks to his four-day total of 17-under-par 271, was hard earned although he had led from the first round.



"I guess I made it too exciting. I wasn't planning on doing that," smiled Edfors. "I made a couple of poor shots and bad decisions and then had to really fight for it at the end."



Edfors was in control until an errant drive which landed next to a tree led to a double bogey on 16 and dropped him into a tie for the lead. But cheered on by a partisan Swedish crowd in the coastal resort town of Hua Hin, he bounced back with a 10-foot birdie on 16 to regain a one-shot lead and then wrapped up formalities with another birdie on 18 from 15 feet to earn the winner's cheque of US$79,250.


 


"I knew that the last three holes, I could shoot low. No one had made a charge except for Prayad who played a fantastic round. I knew I had it in my hands and knew that I needed to perform in the last few holes," said Edfors.


 


"This is one of the nicest wins of my career as I've not had so many Swedes supporting me during my other wins."



Smooth-swinging Prayad was in brilliant form to finish tied second on 273 but will now endure an anxious wait until Monday before knowing his fate for the Masters. The Thai star said his youngest son had told him at the start of the final day to shoot an eight-under round while his ailing mother was also upset that he had not played well all week in his hometown.



"My youngest boy told me to shoot an eight under and I'm glad I did it. I also visited my mother this morning and she asked me how come I was only a few under par," said Prayad, a six-time winner on the Asian Tour.



"The putting made the difference in the last two days. I put in a new putter in the bag and did not go the range and just practiced on the putting greens before my round. I'm glad it paid off but I'll now have to wait to know if I will qualify for the Masters through the world rankings."



Rodgers stayed hard on Edfors' heels but missed chances down the stretch to push the winner down the line. "I gave it my all. I picked a couple of wrong lines and lost a bit of momentum. The killer for me was not making birdie on 16 when Johan made double. That was the moment for me to seize but I didn't," said the Englishman.



The 20-year-old Lahiri was delighted to post his best finish after staying in contention throughout the back nine with a gutsy performance. "I had a chance going into the last three holes. But I blew it on 16 when I three putted for bogey. I had a good yardage but overcooked it. I guess it was the adrenaline.



"I'm quite happy with the way I played. It was the first time I was playing while being in contention. Given the circumstances and given that this was only my 14th or 15th event on the Asian Tour, I'm happy with how I performed," said Lahiri.


 


Leading final round scores


271 - Johan Edfors (SWE) 64-68-71-68


273 - Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 70-72-67-64, Chris Rodgers (ENG) 70-68-67-68


274 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 69-70-67-68


275 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 71-71-70-63, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 69-68-71-67, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 71-69-67-68


277 - Darren Beck (AUS) 69-66-75-67, John Parry (ENG) 74-69-66-68, Angelo Que (PHI) 68-73-67-69, Noh Seung-yul (KOR) 66-71-70-70, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 71-71-66-69, Peter Cooke (AUS) 67-70-70-70, Jason King (AUS) 68-68-69-72


278 - Will Yanagisawa (USA) 70-71-71-66, Prom Meesawat (THA) 70-69-72-67, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 71-72-68-67, Frankie Minoza (PHI) 67-68-75-68, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 69-69-71-69, Keith Horne (RSA) 68-71-68-71



For further information, please contact Asian Tour's Chuah Choo Chiang at the tournament media centre: +66 32 618 662. Also visit www.asiantour.com for live scoring this week.


 


 


About Black Mountain Golf Club


Black Mountain is the seventh and newest golf course in Hua Hin and was launched in 2007. The course is set in a valley, just next to the "Black Mountains", which are so named because of the large black rocks set into the mountains, providing a spectacular backdrop to many of the holes. The 72 par, 7,345 yards is designed by Pacific Coast Design. The most important features are the natural creeks that run throughout the course and the natural rocks that have been used as design features on many of the holes.  As many of the original trees as possible have been kept and many new trees have been planted to frame the holes. All the holes provide the golfer with a safe route but for the more adventurous player there is a higher risk option with a potential greater reward. The design offers generous fairways for the shorter hitter but becoming narrower for the longer hitter. The greens are large with many pin positions, with different degrees of difficulty, and the course is well protected by beautifully sculptured bunkers. After what has hopefully been a low score, but if not, at least an unforgettable golfing experience, you can then enjoy the luxurious clubhouse and the fine dining on offer.


 


About the Asian Tour


As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.  This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Carlsberg (Official Beer), ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore's premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.



About IMG


IMG is the world's premier sports, entertainment and media enterprise. Operating in 30 countries, IMG's diverse businesses include: consulting services; event ownership and management; fashion events and models representation; licensing; golf course design; and client representation in golf, tennis, broadcasting, speakers, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports, coaching, Olympic sports and action sports.  IMG Academies are the world's largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class sports training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult, and professional athletes each year. IMG's media and entertainment operations include content production subsidiaries Darlow Smithson Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions.  Globally, IMG produces and distributes more than 11,000 hours of sports, documentary, drama, comedy, entertainment, popular factual and children's content annually.  IMG also represents the broadcast rights to many of the world's premier sporting events and has the world's largest sports archive with more than 250,000 hours of footage. Forstmann Little & Co. purchased IMG in 2004. More information about IMG is available at www.imgworld.com