Thomas Bjorn wins Omega Masters after play-off
Dane saw off Scotland’s Craig Lee after pair were locked on 20 under at Crans-sur-Sierre
Thomas Bjorn of Denmark won the Omega European Masters at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Crans, Switzerland. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Following a delay because of fog which would later hold up the golfers on the closing few holes, Bjorn — whose last Tour victory came in the Switzerland tournament two years ago — began with a birdie on the par-five first.
The Dane picked up three more ahead of a two on the par-three ninth, which saw him leapfrog overnight leader Lee to head into the turn at 19 under with a two-stroke advantage.
However, Lee — who had held a two-shot cushion after carding a stunning 61 on Saturday — fought back with birdies at 12, 14 and the 15th.
As the conditions again turned, with a further delay for the final group approaching the 18th, Lee was agonisingly close to sinking a birdie for the championship, which would be decided on a play-off as both men finished the regulation 72 holes locked at 20-under-par.
Lee, the 36-year-old from Stirling, recovered after a poor tee shot at the first extra hole to make par. However, that presented an opportunity for Bjorn, which the experienced Dane rolled in from 12 feet at the first time of asking.
Bjorn’s victory was reward for the 42-year-old’s consistency throughout the competition, with just two bogeys in his final card of 264.
“It was nice,” Bjorn said to www.europeantour.com. “I had a really good run through the summer and did not really get close enough.
“I had to grit my teeth for a while and I really wanted to get out and try to win a golf tournament again.
“I came in this week not playing particularly great, but promised myself I would stick to how I play this golf course.
“I did that and had two bogeys in 72 holes, which is good going around here. I felt good and I got over the line.”
Bjorn added: “It was nice to do that in a play-off. I have had a hard time dealing with pressure situations and there is no more pressure than that.”
Gareth Maybin was best of the Irish on seven under after a flawless three-under-par 68.
Pádraig Harrington shot 40 on his back nine on the way to a two-over-par 73, that saw him drop back to four under, while Michael Hoey finished two under thanks to a 67 that included six birdies.
Frenchman Victor Dubuisson saw his challenge hit by two costly bogeys at the start of the back nine, and had to be content with third place just a shot adrift of forcing a three-man play-off.
Spain’s Alejandro Canizares — who had opened the day with an eagle three — was fourth on 18-under.
There was also a frustrating end to the day for England’s Ross Fisher, who after an eagle on the first, dropped shots on 11 and 16 to finish in a tie with Miguel Angel Jimenez, whose three birdies over the closing four holes brought the veteran Spaniard to 15 under.
France’s Gregory Havret shot the best round of the day, with nine birdies as he finished with an eight-under 63 and tied seventh.