Ice-cool Mikko Korhonen wins China Open in a playoff

Finn claims second European Tour title as he sees off France’s Benjamin Hebert

Finland’s  Mikko Korhonen  celebrates after winning the 2019 Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club  in Shenzhen, China. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Finland’s Mikko Korhonen celebrates after winning the 2019 Volvo China Open at Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen, China. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

 

Experienced Finn Mikko Korhonen sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to edge Frenchman Benjamin Hebert and win the China Open after a thrilling final round in Shenzhen on Sunday.

The 38-year-old became the oldest winner of China’s oldest professional tournament to claim his second European Tour title after his triumph at the inaugural Shot Clock Masters in Austria last year.

The final round at the Genzon Golf Club resembled a matchplay event for much of the day with Korhonen, overnight leader Hebert and in-form Spaniard Jorge Campillo vying for the lead in the final group.

The trio were tied on 19 under par when they approached the 17th tee and, as the Guangzhou rain pelted down, Korhonen edged ahead when he curled a putt into the hole off the lip for his seventh birdie of the day.

Hebert, who had started the round with a three-shot lead over his two playing partners, was not about to give up, however, and he drove into the water at the last to set up a birdie chance which he converted for a final round three-under 69.

Korhonen had already parred the 18th for a 66 and, with Campillo out of the equation after a final round 67, the Finn and Hebert headed back to the 18th tee tied on 20 under to decide the title.

“It’s amazing, I don’t know how I did it,” Korhonen said. “Probably the putter today and most of the days.

“All day it was a battle, everyone was making putts so you just had to stay there and make your putts and concentrate on the moment.

“Making the birdie at the 17th I gave myself a chance to win it, but I didn’t manage it at the 18th. I was happy to get into a playoff.”

Campillo, who won his first European Tour title in his 229th tournament in Morocco last week and led by two strokes after a run of four straight birdies around the turn on Sunday, finished alone in third on 19 under.

The Spaniard will, however, move into second place in the Race to Dubai after a win, two second places and two third-place finishes in his last six European Tour outings.

Haotong Li, the 2016 champion, was the top Chinese player three shots further back in fourth after a final round 66, while his compatriot and 2015 champion Ashun Wu (70) shared fifth with four others on 15 under.

Local schoolboy amateur Yang Kuang, who on Friday became the youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event outside the Majors at 14 years, six months and 12 days old, hit a final round 73 for a share of 55th.

FINAL SCOREBOARD

(British and Irish unless stated, par 72, (a) denotes amateur):

268 Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 68 69 65 66, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 67 68 64 69. Korhonen won playoff at first hole

269 Jorge Campillo (Esp) 65 69 68 67

272 Haotong Li (Chn) 67 73 66 66

273 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 67 71 71 64, Ashun Wu (Chn) 66 65 72 70, David Lipsky (USA) 65 72 70 66, Jordan Smith 67 70 69 67, Romain Langasque (Fra) 67 69 70 67

274 Sean Crocker (USA) 68 68 72 66

275 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 68 68 68 71, Yuta Ikeda (Jpn) 68 71 68 68, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 70 67 70 68

276 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 65 68 72 71, Richie Ramsay 69 71 70 66, Adilson Da Silva (Bra) 72 69 65 70, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 69 71 68 68, Min Woo Lee (Aus) 69 67 70 70

277 Panuphol Pittayarat (Tha) 70 71 68 68, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 70 70 69 68, Marcel Siem (Ger) 71 67 69 70, Berry Henson (USA) 70 70 71 66, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 70 71 66 70, Miguel Tabuena (Phl) 67 75 65 70, Julian Suri (USA) 69 72 68 68, John Catlin (USA) 66 76 68 67, Sam Brazel (Aus) 68 71 72 66, Gavin Green (Mal) 67 72 68 70

278 Adri Arnaus (Esp) 75 65 71 67, Enqi Liang (a) (Chn) 70 72 66 70, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 68 68 70 72

279 Joachim B Hansen (Den) 69 73 69 68, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 70 66 73 70, Sam Horsfield 70 69 69 71, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 69 73 67 70, Guido Migliozzi (Esp) 73 68 71 67, Yechun Yuan (Chn) 68 71 72 68, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 68 69 68 74, Paul Peterson (USA) 69 72 67 71

280 Cheng Jin (Chn) 69 69 69 73, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 68 69 75 68, Jack Singh Brar 68 73 70 69

281 Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (Tha) 68 74 65 74, Jian-feng Ye (Chn) 72 68 73 68, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 68 72 69 72, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 68 72 72 69, Wen-chong Liang (Chn) 71 70 69 71, James Morrison 71 69 71 70

282 Richard T Lee (Can) 70 69 69 74, Aaron Rai 71 70 71 70

283 Daniel Van Tonder (Rsa) 73 69 72 69, Louis De Jager (Rsa) 72 68 68 75, Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind) 74 67 69 73, Scott Jamieson 68 69 72 74

284 Romain Wattel (Fra) 70 72 74 68, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 71 71 72 70, Hong-fu Wu (Chn) 68 73 71 72, Stuart Manley 68 70 76 70, Yang Kuang (a) (Chn) 71 71 69 73

285 Zach Murray (Aus) 70 71 68 76, Malcolm Kokocinski (Swe) 69 73 72 71, Micah Lauren Shin (USA) 69 70 71 75, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 72 70 70 73

287 Khalin Joshi (Ind) 69 70 78 70

288 Scott Hend (Aus) 68 70 80 70, SSP Chawrasia (Ind) 71 71 72 74

291 Scott Vincent (Zim) 70 72 78 71

295 Guxin Chen (a) (Chn) 70 72 77 76

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