Beijing, China: Swedish Rookie, Alexander Bjork won his first European Tour title in stunning fashion after carding a seven-under 65, emerging from a packed China Open field to claim a one-stroke victory in a dramatic final round yesterday. Bjork, who trailed by one stroke after three rounds, had a 72-hole total of 18-under 270 on the Topwin Golf and Country Club.
Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, who had moved into a share of the third-round lead with England’s Matt Wallace after shooting 67 on Saturday, matched that score on Sunday havng birdied the last to finish second, one shot behind Bjork.
Wallace finished tied for third with two others after a 68, two strokes behind.
“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.