Injury free Haeggman wins Qatar Masters
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2004 Qatar Masters | Wrap | 15 Mar 2004
Joakim Haeggman’s last round 65 at the Qatar Masters has not only won him his first European Tour title since the Scandanavian Masters in 1997, it has firmly put to bed any thoughts he may have had regarding another fling at his off course passion of ice hockey.
For seven months in 2003, Haeggman was forced to watch from the sidelines as he recovered from yet another injury caused by his participation in an ice hockey match in the off season. That injury was the second significant injury following yet another hockey injury early in his career when he had damaged his shoulder. When he finally rejoined the European Tour in July of last year, the week after the Open, he struggled, making just five of nine cuts, although late in the season he would play well at the German Masters and the Dunhill Links.
It would seem now that the 34-year-old Monaco-based Swede has finally seen the light however, the joy of such a win here in the Gulf State of Qatar highlighting the rewards for staying fit and injury free.
Haeggman joined the European Tour in 1990 and, despite winning only twice prior to this week, he has been a regular money winner in those thirteen years having only once lost his card in the process. That was when he finished 120th on the money list in 1999.
In 1993, in his first Ryder Cup appearance at the Belfry, Haeggman was one of only three Europeans to win their singles matches that year when he beat John Cook, trailblazing for the many Swedes such as Jesper Parnevik, Per Ulrik Johannssen, Pierre Fulke, Jarmo Sandelin and Niclas Fasth who would go on to represent Europe in the great event.
His 2004 season, while playing on a medical exemption, had already started well for Haeggman with only one missed cut in the seven events he had played prior to this week. His 9th place at last week’s Dubai Desert Classic certainly suggested that something even better was perhaps not far away.
Haeggman would start the last day tied in 4th place but by the time he reached the 10th hole today he was six under for the day and fifteen under for the tournament and the lead was his. The chasers would include Japanese star Nobuhito Sato in his first year on the European Tour, Raphael Jacquelin, Brian Davis and Jose Lara, who all had their opportunities over the closing holes but could not match the benchmark Haeggman had set.
For Sato, who has been a prolific winner in Japan in recent years, he would birdie the last hole today to grab second outright and produce the best finish by a Japanese player in Europe since Katsuyoshi Tamura’s runner up finish at the Sarazen World Open in 1999. Sato qualified for Europe via the Q School last year and this finish has him right on track for a return to Europe in 2005. Sato won three times in Japan in 2002 and four times in 2000. His finish today, along with the win of Todd Hamilton in Florida this week, suggesting that the Japan Golf Tour is proving to be a good breeding ground for world wide performers.
Brian Davis continued his good recent run of form to finish tied for third with Jose Lara and Raphael Jacquelin the Frenchman, who must surely win on the European Tour before too long. This was Jacquelin’s fourth top five in seven starts this season.
Of the Australasians Brett Rumford was the best, finishing in 25th place, Marcus Fraser and Wade Ormsby were 30th, Terry Price 36th, Stephen Scahill 58th and Jarrod Moseley 62nd Paul Marantz 71st and Richard Green 78th.
The European Tour now heads to Singapore for the Caltex Masters presented by Carlsberg.