Sebastian Soderberg beats Rory McIlroy in Swiss playoff

McIlroy and three others seen off by the Swede in a tense European Masters finale

Rory McIlroy congratulates Sebastian Soderberg after the Swede beat him in a play-off in Switzerland. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty

Rory McIlroy congratulates Sebastian Soderberg after the Swede beat him in a play-off in Switzerland. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty

 

Sebastian Soderberg was thrilled to play Sunday’s final round of the European Masters with Rory McIlroy but he did not let the occasion overwhelm him as he won the title following a five-way playoff in the Swiss Alps.

The Swede sank his winning birdie putt from about 10 feet at the first extra hole and then watched as McIlroy and Finland’s Kalle Samooja both missed from shorter distances at Crans-sur-Sierre in Crans Montana.

Soderberg looked to have frittered away victory earlier when he three-putted from short range at the 17th hole in regulation.

But he regrouped to par the last hole to card four-under-par 66 and then clinched his first European Tour triumph at the same hole in the playoff.

In his 50th European Tour appearance, Soderberg finished at 14-under 266 along with McIlroy (67), Samooja (67), Italian Lorenzo Gagli (67) and Argentine Andres Romero (70).

Earlier, Soderberg had jumped to the front with five consecutive birdies but he felt he was “crumbling” after frittering away his lead at the 17th hole.

“I thought it was exciting enough to just come out here and play with Rory,” the 28-year-old said in a greenside interview.

“I was shaking the last few holes. I’m very proud of myself to play good when I feel like I’m shaking [though] I was way more calm in the playoff than in the last few holes.”

Rory McIlroy walks off the seventh during the final round of the Omega Masters in Switzerland. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty
Rory McIlroy walks off the seventh during the final round of the Omega Masters in Switzerland. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty

McIlroy, a week after winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour, could not quite close the deal though he rallied late with five birdies in a six-hole stretch.

“Too many mistakes,” he said of a week that included 14 bogeys. “I made enough birdies, but I just didn’t quite have it over the weekend.

“This is my seventh event in eight weeks. I think playing so much, sometimes mental errors creep in here and there.”

McIlroy sank a curling 18-foot birdie putt at the 17th to tie for the lead, but then carved his five-wood tee shot way right into the pines at the par-four 18th.

His ball ended up near a stone plaque which marks the spot from where Seve Ballesteros made a stunning birdie to win the same event in 1993 after firing his recovery shot over a wall.

But McIlroy took the safer route and punched out sideways to the fairway, from where he almost holed out from 120 yards, before tapping in for par.

The playoff was halted for several minutes after Gagli’s tee shot struck the head of a spectator who required medical assistance.

Perhaps distracted, the Italian subsequently hit his second shot into a greenside pond.

FINAL SCORES
(British and Irish unless stated, par 70, (a) denotes amateur)

266 Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 64 70 66 66 (won at first extra playoff hole), Rory McIlroy 67 63 69 67, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 66 71 62 67, Andres Romero (Arg) 69 61 66 70, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 64 68 67 67

267 Adri Arnaus (Esp) 66 67 70 64, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 63 72 67 65

268 Lucas Herbert (Aus) 70 67 67 64, Tommy Fleetwood 65 65 68 70, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 66 64 67 71, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 63 67 70 68

269 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 67 72 65 65, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 70 68 66 65, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 67 67 65 70, Gavin Green (Mal) 65 64 69 71, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 65 69 68 67, Renato Paratore (Ita) 67 66 67 69, Scott Jamieson 70 65 67 67, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 67 67 70 65

270 Thomas Detry (Bel) 68 71 65 66, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 66 70 65 69, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 66 66 71 67

271 Andrew Johnston 69 69 66 67, David Drysdale 65 70 70 66, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 66 68 66 71, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 67 66 69 69, Joost Luiten (Ned) 69 68 68 66

272 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 66 68 70 68, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 67 68 67 70, Sean Crocker (USA) 68 67 68 69, Lee Westwood 67 72 64 69, James Morrison 67 67 70 68

273 Jack Singh Brar 69 68 67 69, Guido Migliozzi (Esp) 65 72 70 66

274 Ross Fisher 68 70 65 71, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 70 65 72 67, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 64 70 75 65, Lee Slattery 66 70 68 70, Jamie Donaldson 65 74 69 66, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 68 71 67 68, Eddie Pepperell 70 66 67 71, Troy Merritt (USA) 67 71 70 66

275 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 69 69 64 73, Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 73 66 69 67, Sam Horsfield 68 69 70 68, David Horsey 69 67 66 73, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 66 69 69 71

276 Oliver Wilson 68 69 68 71, Romain Langasque (Fra) 72 67 65 72, Chris Paisley 70 69 68 69, Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 67 70 70 69, Daniel Gavins 72 67 69 68, Max Schmitt (Ger) 68 68 75 65, Eduardo Ger Lao Riva (Esp) 68 71 68 69, Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 67 70 72 67, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 69 70 67 70, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 69 70 67 70

277 Richie Ramsay 70 69 67 71, Grant Forrest 69 68 74 66, Sam Brazel (Aus) 67 69 73 68

278 Liam Johnston 69 69 68 72, Bradley Dredge 66 69 69 74

279 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 68 71 71 69, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 71 65 68 75, (a) Giovanni Manzoni (Ita) 70 69 71 69, David Howell 69 70 71 69, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa) 70 67 70 72, Nick Cullen (Aus) 70 69 70 70

280 Deyen Lawson (Aus) 69 70 72 69, Chris Wood 67 71 72 70, Matthew Fitzpatrick 69 69 73 69

281 Ashley Chesters 70 67 69 75, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 71 67 70 73, Wilco Nienaber (Rsa) 72 63 73 73

285 Clement Sordet (Fra) 68 70 77 70

293 Stuart Manley 70 69 75 79

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