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Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014

Asia

Super Thongchai as good as gold

The Nation/ANN | Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand poses with the trophy after winning the Nordea Masters in Malmo, Sweden.

Thongchai Jaidee overcame Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher in a play-off to seal a dramatic victory at the Nordea Masters.

The Thai carded a closing 65 at PGA Sweden National, where a host of players - including World No 2 Henrik Stenson - saw their chances of victory come and go.

Having set the clubhouse mark at 16-under- par, Thongchai then had to wait as the last four groups made their way down the par five last - with only Dubuisson and Gallacher able to reach his score.

On the first trip back down the 18th, Thongchai spun his third shot to three feet and, after seeing Dubuisson and Gallacher miss lengthy birdie putts, converted to seal a sixth European Tour title.

"I worked hard today," said Thongchai. "I started with three birdies in a row, had another one on six, then a good comeback on 11 [where he made an eagle three].

"We were nervous the last few holes - 16, 17 and 18 are tough holes - but 16 under was good enough for a play-off. "The golf course is wide open, you have to hit good golf shots and the weather helped a little bit."

France's Dubuisson would have won with a birdie on 18 in regulation play, but three-putted from just off the green.

Gallacher's chance looked to have gone when he bogeyed the 17th from a greenside bunker, but he bravely converted from 20 feet at the next.

Stenson, playing in the final group with Eddie Pepperell, needed an eagle to win his national title for the first time, but pushed his second into trouble right of the green and eventually bogeyed.

"It was a disappointing last day," the Swede, who lost a play-off for this event in 2005, said of his 71. "Apart from the first hole I got off to a good start and made a couple of birdies, but the bogey on the sixth was a momentum killer.

"It was one of those days when I didn't quite get it going and missed a few chances and a couple of bogeys slipped onto the card too easily. You can't afford that if you are going to win the tournament.

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