Crans-Montana, Switzerland, 9 September - Australian Brett Rumford chipped in for birdie at the first extra hole to defeat England's Phillip Archer in a sudden-death play-off for an emotional victory in the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club here today.
Rumford and Archer had finished locked together on 16 under par 268, a stroke ahead of defending champion Bradley Dredge of Wales. The leading pair both bogeyed the par four 17th hole and both also missed 15-foot putts for birdies on the last to win outright, Archer setting the target with a closing six under par 65 and Rumford matching him with a 68.
Playing the 18th again as the first play-off hole, Rumford slid home his chip 30 feet from the left fringe to claim the €333,330 first prize as Archer's chip from the back fringe just missed. Recalling his final shot, Rumford said: “You are just suspended there for that brief second in anticipation and there is nothing going through your mind but get in. It was tracking all the way and I thought it was coming up short but the breeze took it in. My short game has pulled me through this week.”
While his chip-in finale settled the outcome, Rumford set up his win over three pivotal holes, the 11th and 12th, which he birdied, and the 13th, where he holed a 35 foot putt to save par. Victory signalled the end of a lean run for Rumford, who had been lying only 106th on The European Tour Order of Merit.
"It's been a pretty tough year," he said. "This has proved very emotional and I had to have five minutes in a back room when it all hit me. I've been trying hard, grinding week in week out for not much but at last it's all come together this week."
Runner-up Archer said: "I hit three good shots and lost, you can't do anything about that, every credit to Brett." Archer's previous best finish was this year's tied second place in the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia behind former European No1 Lee Westwood.
Dredge missed the chance of joining the play-off when his 12-foot birdie putt went by on the final hole for a round of 69. "It has been a good week but it would have been nice to have holed one or two more putts," Dredge said. He finished a stroke better than fellow Welshman Sion Bebb, who shot a 68, to finish fourth, his highest European Tour finish.
Omega President Stephen Urquhart was joined by Gaston Barras, President of the Crans-sur-Sierre golf club, to hand out the prizes at the end of a tournament that was enjoyed by spectators and players alike, many of whom praised the condition of the famous old course.
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