Tue, Apr 23, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Raphael Jacquelin claims Spanish Open in Valencia

AFP, VALENCIA, Spain

Raphael Jacquelin of France putts the ball during the Spanish Open in Valencia on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Raphael Jacquelin claimed victory at the Spanish Open in Valencia after edging out German Maximilian Kieffer in a marathon playoff at the ninth extra hole — the joint longest ever sudden death playoff on the European Tour.

Both men finished alongside Felipe Aguilar on five-under par for the tournament, but the Chilean was eliminated at the third playoff hole when a wonderful second shot from Jacquelin set up an easy birdie putt and Kieffer amazingly putted in from off the green to match the Frenchman’s three.

The next five holes were then pared by both men, before another sumptuous second from Jacquelin on their ninth trip up the 18th left him with a putt from less than 10 feet which he rolled in to seal it with a birdie.

The final day of the event at the Parador de El Saler course had already been laced with drama before the playoff even began as overnight leader Marc Warren bogeyed four of the last five holes to miss out on his third European Tour title.

Warren had led by two strokes after Saturday’s third round and had an even more commanding lead when playing partner Craig Lee bogeyed the first five holes.

Dropped shots at the sixth, 14th and 15th brought Warren back into the leading group, before he chipped in at the 16th to move a shot clear once more.

However, back-to-back bogeys followed to leave the 32-year-old at four-under par.

That left the path clear for Jacquelin and Kieffer to play out a memorable extra nine holes, matching the previous European Tour record scenario which saw Jose Maria Olazabal overcome Ronan Rafferty at the KLM Dutch Open back in 1989.

After both made birdies at the third playoff hole, it was Jacquelin’s more precise iron shots that were consistently giving the Frenchman better looks at the hole and he finally rolled one in at the ninth time of asking to claim his fourth career victory on the European Tour.

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