Mon, Feb 12, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Hedblom claims first tour victory in almost 11 years

AP , KUALA LUMPUR

Sweden's Peter Hedblom shot a four-under-par 68 yesterday to win the Malaysian Open by one stroke from Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin for his first European Tour title in almost 11 years.

Hedblom made six birdies against two bogeys for an eight-under 280 at the Saujana Golf and Country Club to win the US$1.29 million tournament, his first tour win since the Moroccan Open in 1996.

"It was great to win this championship although I was seven strokes behind after Round three. I just played my game and not even looked at the scoreboard, until some spectators told me that I was the leader today," Hedblom said.

"It's almost 11 years now ... I've worked so hard to get back and try to win a tournament and now I've won it. It's unbelievable," he said. "When you haven't won for that long, you question whether you can win again."

At one stage, five players tied for the lead, with seven other players within two shots off the pace. Hedblom pulled clear of the pack with birdies on the 13th, 16th and 17th holes, but caught a tricky lie with his second shot on the 18th which ended on the edge of a bunker.

The Swede recovered with an exquisite chip onto the green and took three putts to hole out, making Lucquin pay for his costly three putt bogey on the same hole.

Lucquin fired six birdies for his final-round 67 and a total of 281, one stoke ahead of England's Simon Dyson (70) and Ignacio Garrido of Spain (69).

"The first putt (on 18) was very quick, the second putt was a good putt but that's golf. Maybe a five at the last would have given me a win. But things were not enough today," Lucquin said.

Overnight joint leader Marcus Higley of England had three bogeys against a lone birdie for a 74 to finish three strokes off the pace with countryman Gary Lockerbie.

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland shot a 71 to finish at even-par for the tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.

Fellow Ryder Cup star Lee Westwood of England combined an eagle and four birdies with six bogeys and a double bogey for a disappointing 74 and a finish of two-over 290, while Denmark's Thomas Bjorn finished a stroke back after a final-round 72.

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