PERTH, Australia – Jin Jeong, formerly the world’s top-ranked amateur, sank a par putt on the first hole of a sudden death playoff to beat England's Ross Fisher and win the ISPS Handa Perth International on the European Tour.
The Melbourne-based South Korean had two stints as the world's highest-ranked amateur in 2010 and was also the leading amateur at that year's British Open. Since turning pro in 2011, his best finish has been a fifth placing at last year's New Zealand PGA Championship.
Jeong said he was considering a return to Q-School before winning the $2 million Perth tournament, which gives him guest membership on the European Tour.
He shot a 3-under final round of 69 Sunday to finish tied with Fisher at 10-under 278. Fisher had a final round 68 but bogeyed the first playoff hole.
Jeong recovered from a double bogey-6 on the opening hole of his final round to post birdies on the fourth, fifth, 11th, 12th and 15th holes and finish atop the leaderboard. He played conservatively down the stretch as overnight leader Brody Ninyette of Australia dropped away and Fisher emerged as the co-leader.
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The Perth-based Ninyette led the tournament by one shot over Jeong entering the final round and held his nerve for most of the day in only his second European Tour event.
The indigenous Australian player was still in front after 12 holes but bogeys at the 13th, 16th and 18th holes dropped him back to 8 under and he finished with an even-par 72 and a tie for third with compatriot Dimitrios Papadatos and England's Danny Willett.
Fisher, playing in the group ahead of Jeong, had six birdies and two bogeys in his final round. His birdies at the 15th and 17th holes carried him to 10 under and he was briefly the clubhouse leader before Jeong parred the 18th to force the playoff.
The players returned to the 18th tee and, after a steady approach, Jeong sank the decisive putt from two feet while Fisher three-putted for bogey.
"The first hole was a wakeup call I guess and after that I settled in pretty well and played pretty well," Jeong said. "Putting was really the key. I rolled the ball really well and put in a lot of good putts."
American Dustin Johnson shot the best round of the day, a 66, to rise into a tie for 12th place while defending champion Bo Van Pelt finished in a tie for 18th at 3 under.