BEIJING (AFP) – Alexander Bjork won his first European Tour title in stunning fashion after carding a seven-under 65 to emerge from a packed China Open field in a dramatic final round yesterday.
“I can’t describe the emotions. I’m really, really happy,” said the Swede, who entered the day a shot off the pace and was part of a six-way tie for the lead at one point before winning by two strokes at 18-under par.
“I’m really proud of the way I played today,” added the world number 112.
“It’s probably one of the best rounds I’ve ever played, I would say the best round, given the situation. I didn’t make pretty much any mistakes today so I’m super happy.”
The 27 year-old will now leap into the top 10 in the European Tour Race to Dubai and as high as 72nd in the world on Monday after receiving a bumper cheque for $525,000 at the $3.2 million event co-sanctioned by Asian Tour on his 44th European Tour start.
Jordan Smith earlier signed for a brilliant 64 to set the clubhouse target at 16 under par, but Bjork took the lead on his own for the first time with a birdie on 15 after a classy up-and-down from a sand trap.
Spaniard Adrian Otaegui joined him in top spot but another birdie on the 17 left Bjork with an nervous clubhouse wait at 18-under par 270.
A three-putt on the 17th from Otaegui left him two behind and when he and fellow overnight leader Matt Wallace both failed to make eagles at the par-five 18th Bjork was able to celebrate.
Spain’s Otaegui did make a birdie at 18 to take second place on his own at 17-under. Fellow Spaniard Jorge Campillo shared third at 16-under par with the English pair of Smith and Wallace.
The 27-year-old Bjork first hit the front with a stunning approach to the opening hole and further birdies on two par-fives, the fourth and eighth, plus another at the 11th left him one behind Smith who stormed to the top of the leaderboard after a flawless round featuring eight birdies.
Otaegui holed a brilliant downhill sweeping 25-foot left-to-righter on the second to get his final-round 67 going.
Wallace was level par for his round after 10 holes as he overcame a double-bogey on the fourth but a tremendous back nine with birdies on the 11th, 12th, 15th and 17th kept his hopes alive.
Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard also carded a magnificent eight-under 64 to lift himself to sixth pace on his own.