Mon, Mar 30, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Edfors holds lead to win Black Mountain Masters

AFP , HUA HIN, THAILAND

Sweden’s Johan Edfors endured some heart-stopping moments before completing a down-to-the-wire victory at the inaugural Black Mountain Masters in Thailand yesterday.

The big-hitting Swede fired a four-under-par 68 in the final round at the Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin to defeat Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng and England’s Chris Rodgers by two strokes in the 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 earning a ticket to the US Masters in two weeks.

He had to wait until the completion of tournaments in Europe and the US later yesterday 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 for fifth alongside Thai duo Chapchai Nirat (67) and Thongchai Jaidee (68).

It was a timely victory for Edfors, who had not won a title since his bumper 2006 season, when he triumphed three times on the European Tour.

The victory, thanks to his four-day total of 17-under-par 271, was hard-earned despite the fact he led from the first round.

“I guess I made it too exciting. I wasn’t planning on doing that,” Edfors said with a smile. “I made a couple of poor shots and bad decisions and then had to really fight for it at the end.”

He was in control until an errant drive that 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, he bounced back with a 10-foot birdie on 16 to regain a one-shot lead and then wrapped up with another birdie on 18 from 15 feet for the win.

“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,” Edfors said. “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 before knowing his fate for the Masters.

“The putting made the difference in the last two days,” said Prayad, a six-time Asian Tour winner. “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.”

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