Rumford wins Ballantine's title with eagle on first hole of sudden death

Brett Rumford at the Ballantine's Championship
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Brett Rumford won the Ballantine's Championship to become the first Australian to triumph on the European Tour in two years.
By
PGA.com news services

Series: European Tour

SEOUL, South Korea -- Brett Rumford of Australia eagled the first hole of a three-way playoff Sunday to win the Ballantine's Championship on the European Tour.

Rumford was leading by two shots when he double-bogeyed No. 17. He then holed a 10-foot par putt at the last to finish at 11-under 277 and force a playoff with Marcus Fraser of Australia and Peter Whiteford of Scotland.

Rumford then made a 4-foot eagle putt, giving the 35-year-old a fourth European Tour title and first in six years.

Rumford is the first Australian to win on the European Tour in two years and he drew on the inspiration of Adam Scott who became the first Australian to win the Masters earlier this month.

''Scotty's win was a huge inspiration to all of us,'' he said. ''It's just good on the European Tour side of things as we needed to make a shift and get a few runs on the board because the Aussie guys in the U.S. have been doing a great job.''

Rumford started his final round in sizzling manner with six birdies in his opening nine holes including four in succession from the sixth hole. He raced to the turn in just 30 strokes and still led by two shots with two holes to play, only to run up that double-bogey 6 on the 17th after a wild drive led to a penalty drop from a bush.

Another errant tee shot on the 18th meant Rumford eventually had to scramble to save par.

The three playoff participants returned to the 18th tee and, after a quick call to coach Pete Cowen, Rumford hit a much better drive. Then, having seen his opponents fail to reach the green in two, he fired a brilliant approach to four feet and made the putt.

''I battled today with my driver constantly as I was leaking a few drives right, including the whole back nine when I was feeling stuck, so I had a quick word to Pete and then hit about five or six balls off the first tee, and that did the trick,” Rumford explained. “It's a funny game because it was an absolute roller-coaster ride of emotions out there this afternoon.''

Rumford started his final round in sizzling manner with six birdies in his opening nine holes, including four in succession from the sixth hole.

Whiteford let slip his chance for his first European Tour win in his 142nd event when he missed a five-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

South African Louis Oosthuizen, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 7, shot a final-round 69 to finish three strokes behind the leaders in a share of fifth place.

However, for a second day running the former British Open champion came unstuck at the par-3 No. 13, recording a double bogey and a day after walking off the same hole with a triple bogey.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee produced the lowest final-round score of 65 to finish among five players tied in sixth at 7 under.