Castano wins Asian play-off
Tournament: BMW Asian Open
Venue: Tomson Shanghai Pudong GC, Shanghai, China
Winner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
Rising star Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano won his second tournament on the European Tour after defeating Swedish star Henrik Stenson in a dramatic first-hole playoff at the BMW Asian Open on Sunday.
Castano, who finished second in last week’s Volvo China Open in Beijing, continued his impressive form this week at Shanghai’s Tomson Golf Club to snare his second title on the European Tour after victory at last year’s KLM Open in Holland.
The 25-year-old Spaniard forced the playoff when he sank a critical, turning-point 30-foot birdie putt on the 16th after Stenson found trouble at the same hole.
It enabled him to close with a two under 70, tie the big hitting Swede at 7-under 281 and then post a critical birdie at the first-extra hole of the sudden death play-off to clinch the title in the European Tour’s final co-santioned tournament in Asia this season.
In a welcome return from a string of missed cuts, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie bounced back with an excellent closing 4-under 68 to tie Portugal’s Jose-Filipe Lima for 2nd place, just one shot off the pace.
Defending champion Paul Casey was unable to match his 3rd round 69, but a 71 gave him a 283 and an honourable tie with fellow Englishman Simon Dyson and New Zealand’s Mahal Pearce for 5th place, just two shots away from regaining his title.
Stenson would be kicking himself for practically handing the title to the young Spaniard after a treble bogey on the 14th had initially derailed his hopes of snatching the silverware.
By winning his second title, Castano also became the youngest winner of the Asian Open since its inception in 2001, easily beating Padraig Harrington’s record in 2003 at 31 years and 85 days.
On a tense last day marked by low scores, the lead changed hands at least four times as the top European players hit form on the 72-par 7,300-yard course.
Castano drove his tee shot into the trees when he returned to the 18th tee in the play-off, but recovered with a superb chip shot on his third shot that landed just inches away from the cup.
Stenson also drove into the woods off the tee but could only manage to par the 18th hole to hand Castano victory and US dollars 300,000 prize money.
“It was really more difficult to win my second title,” said Castano. “That shot on the 16th was not my best shot but it was great under the circumstances and when I was under pressure from Henrik [Stenson] in such an important tournament.
“I really enjoyed playing with Henrik. It’s been a great day and one I won’t ever forget.”
Casey had snatched a share of the lead after six holes with birdies in the second and fifth, but Stenson stormed right back, reclaiming the outright lead after the sixth to go seven under.
Montgomerie got off to a poor start when he bogeyed the first hole, but he made amends to his earlier hiccup by producing one of his best finishes in many weeks
He collected birdies in the second, seventh, ninth, 10th, 12th and sunk a six-foot putt on the last hole to settle for four-under-par 68.
Dyson took joint leadership after the 12th hole as a group of golfers moved ominously closer to the top of the leaderboard, but the Englishman failed to sustain his challenge and gradually faded to finish the day on four-under-par 68 to finish five under.
The closeness between the top players was evident midway through the round when there was a six-way tie for first place with Stenson and Dyson sharing the limelight with Montgomerie, Casey, Australia’s Peter O’Malley and New Zealand’s Mahal Pearce.
Portugal’s Lima threatened to gatecrash the party when he briefly held on to a one-shot lead after the 13th but he gradually faded out of contention with bogeys in the 12th and 14th.
Pearce was also right into the title picture when he led by a single shot after the 12th but could not sustain his challenge to finish on one-under-71 for the day.
Stenson took a three-shot lead after the eighth hole and was sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard before disaster struck on the par-five ninth.
Hitting a wayward drive into the woods, Stenson struck a tree before his shot ricocheted back towards him by about 60 metres.
His approach shot then hit the water and he took a penalty before he three-putted for a frustrating eight. It was something Stenson did not need as he blew a three-shot lead just when he looked as if he was steaming towards the title.
But Stenson managed to regain the lead after the 14th when he birdied the difficult 356-yard par 14. But he found trouble again on the 16th when he hit the trees, dropping another shot moments after Fernandez hit one of the shots of the tournament.
Fernandez took a one-shot lead going into the final hole and sunk a six-foot putt before Stenson came back with a much-needed birdie to force a play-off between the two players.
ALL THE FINAL SCORES
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):
281 *Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 71 71 69 70 (*Castano wins at 1st extra hole),
Henrik Stenson (Swe) 67 72 71 71
282 Colin Montgomerie 69 74 71 68, Jose-Filipe Lima (Por) 71 70 73 68
283 Mahal Pearce (Nzl) 72 72 68 71, Paul Casey 72 71 69 71, Simon Dyson 72 71 72 68
285 David Bransdon (Aus) 72 74 73 66, Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) 73 73 74 65, Peter O’Malley (Aus) 73 70 69 73, Paul Lawrie 70 70 73 72
286 Barry Lane 74 71 72 69
287 Christian Cevaer (Fra) 73 72 73 69, Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) 73 70 73 71, Steven Jeppesen (Swe) 73 73 72 69, Charlie Wi (Kor) 69 73 74 71, Peter Lawrie 69 72 75 71, Ignacio Garrido (Spa 75 71 71 70, Graeme Storm 74 69 72 72, Brett Rumford (Aus) 75 70 75 67
288 Frankie Minoza (Phi) 69 72 76 71, Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 70 73 76 69, Jean Van de Velde (Fra) 68 78 71 71, Simon Wakefield 73 70 73 72, Andrew Marshall 71 73 73 71
289 Chapchai Nirat (Tha) 70 75 72 72, Alex Cejka (Ger) 71 74 74 70, Chawalit Plaphol (Tha) 73 71 75 70, Shiv Kapur (Ind) 71 74 76 68, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 72 75 72 70, Richard Bland 71 72 74 72, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 69 78 71 71, Nick Dougherty 73 73 74 69
290 Jarrod Lyle (Aus) 71 71 74 74, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 69 76 73 72, Markus Brier (Aut) 72 71 70 77, David Higgins 73 70 73 74, Miles Tunnicliff 72 70 76 72, Chris Rodgers 72 72 73 73, Ted Oh (Kor) 70 77 73 70
291 Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 74 69 72 76, Scott Drummond 70 75 75 71, Garry Houston 71 71 76 73, Sven Struver (Ger) 77 69 73 72, Danny Chia (Mal) 71 70 76 74, Damien McGrane 72 74 72 73
292 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned) 75 71 78 68, Shaun P Webster 73 71 77 71
293 Wen Teh Lu (Tai) 75 70 75 73, Christopher Hanell (Swe) 72 74 74 73, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 71 75 76 71, Jarmo Sandelin (Swe) 73 71 75 74, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 72 72 78 71, Wen-chong Liang (Chn) 70 74 76 73, Jason Knutzon (USA) 71 73 76 73
294 Simon Yates 73 74 72 75, Stephen Gallacher 68 77 76 73, Sung-Man Lee (Kor) 75 72 74 73, Johan Edfors (Swe) 71 74 78 71, Prom Meesawat (Tha) 73 74 75 72
295 Richard Sterne (Rsa) 73 73 74 75, Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra) 71 76 75 73, David Dixon 71 76
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