Sunday, September 08, 2013


                 THOMAS BJORN .. King of the Mountains
                 Picture by courtesy of Getty Images(c)

Great Dane Thomas Bjorn holed a 12ft birdie putt to beat Stirling's Craig Lee at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off conclusion to the European Tour's Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre today.
Extra holes were required to separate Björn and overnight leader Lee, who struck 65 and 67 respectively on the final day.
The former made quick work of sealing victory thereafter, birdieing the 18th with a fine putt that sealed his 14th success on The European Tour and second in this tournament, following his triumph two years ago.
“It was nice,” he said. “I had a really good run through the summer and did not really get close enough.
“I had to grit my teeth for a while and I really wanted to get out and try to win a golf tournament again.
“I came in this week not playing particularly great but promised myself I’d stick to how I play this golf course.
“I did that and had two bogeys in 72 holes, which is good going around here. I felt good and I got over the line.
“It was nice to do that in a playoff. I’ve had a hard time dealing with pressure situations and there is no more pressure than that.”
That Björn required a playoff was thanks to a valiant effort from Lee, who is still seeking his first triumph on tour.
It appeared the more experienced Björn, who has been a model of consistency in the tournament thus far, had taken control after making five birdies in an outward 31 that featured some stupendous play around the greens.
With the Dane dropping only two shots over the first three rounds, it certainly seemed like he had the necessary consistency – particularly given he required just nine putts on the front nine.
However, Lee – who yesterday carded a stunning 61 having threatened to produce the first sub-60 round in the history of The European Tour – caught fire on the back.
Amid Björn picking up just one more shot on the way in, Lee enjoyed gains at 12, 15 and 16.
He headed into the final hole knowing a birdie would be enough to secure victory but – after seeing his first putt lip out – ultimately settled for a par to join Björn in the clubhouse on 20 under par and force extra holes.
In the end, just one was required in heavy mist as Björn once again found the Midas touch on the greens.
Par 284 (4x71)
264 Thomas Bjorn (Denmark) 66 66 67 65, Craig Lee (Scotland) 71 65 61 67 (Bjorn  bt Lee at first hole of play-off). Bjorn 366,660 Euros; Lee 244,440 Euros


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