Kjeldsen clinches Irish Open crown
Soren Kjeldsen won the first hole of a playoff to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Sunday afternoon.
The Dane, who started the final round at Royal County Down with a two strokes lead, defeated Eddie Pepperell and Bernd Wiesberger on the first replay of the 18th to end a six year win drought.
Kjeldsen would stumble to a five over 76 to leave him on two under in trying conditions. Players had been as low as six under for the event but in the end, just five players would manage to stay under par on an unforgiving course with high winds and squalls of rain.
The only others under par were Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Tyrrell Hatton of England who tied for fourth, both on one under.
Kjeldsen looked as though he could fall from grace after he double bogeyed the par four eighth. But he bounced back to birdie the 12th. While Kjeldsen dropped a shot on the 14th and three-putted for a bogey on the 17th, he only needed a par on the final par five to secure a spot in a playoff.
On the return to the 18th, Kjeldsen split the fairway, while Cabrera-Bello and Wiesberger were both in the first cut. He found the green on his second while the others missed. Kjeldsen would have a four footer for the win, which he nearly made a hash of as the ball rolled around the lip of hole.
After missing the cut for the third time in a row at the Irish Open, tournament host Rory McIlroy was there to represent the Rory Foundation and present Kjeldsen with the trophy.
“Three weeks ago I was 112th in the Order of Merit and my game was not in good shape,” revealed the 40-year-old on europeantour.com.
“With turning 40, you wonder was that it? Now I am standing here and it’s pretty remarkable really.
“The last breath I took was on about the 14th. I have never been as nervous as this in the other tournaments I have won.
“I had decided not to look at leaderboards but once I started dropping shots I started looking because it gave me a little pleasure that I wasn’t the only one struggling because it was such a brutal day. I was leaking shots left, right and centre but made a great up and down on 15 and the three-wood second shot in the play-off was pretty special.”
The victory also earns Kjeldsen entry into The Open Championship, which takes place at St Andrews in July.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.
Rory McIlroy begins Italian Open with superb 67 after recovering from slow start
He kick-started his round by holing out from 115 yards for an eagle on the par-four third.
Shane Lowry: Golf risks alienating fans with disgusting amount of money involved
The BMW PGA Championship winner insists he was never tempted to join LIV Golf.