Fasth wins Spanish Open in yet another playoff
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2006 Open de Espana | Wrap | 01 May 2006
Niclas Fasth appeared to benefit from his light schedule this year and a recent holiday with his family when he emerged as the winner of the Andalucía Open de España Valle Romano at San Roque Club, Cadiz in southern Spain.
Fasth, who last played more than a month ago, nearly blew his chance to win his fourth European Tour event by bogeying the last two holes of regulation play before taking the title with a birdie at the fourth extra hole. It was the third time in Fasth’s four European Tour wins where victory has came via a playoff.
For his playoff opponent Bickerton it was yet another near thing and adds to the five runner up placings he has had on the European Tour in addition to his win in the Canary Islands last year. Bickerton was brilliant in round four, powering to the turn in 30 and adding three further birdies for a final round 63. The round advanced him 15 places on the leaderboard and although he missed an opportunity to win, it would perhaps have been Fasth who would have been even more disappointed should he have lost the playoff.
Fasth was cruising along with two holes to go with a two shot lead over Thomas Bjorn and Bickerton who was already finished. He was in charge of his own destiny but a poor tee shot at the par three 17th was followed by a wayward drive at the last and all of a sudden he was once again in a playoff.
It took four holes for the winner to be decided, the deadlock broken when Bickerton missed the green at the fourth extra hole and Fasth hit a fine approach and made his birdie.
The player who appeared most likely to win early on day four was Thomas Bjorn who stormed to the lead with five birdies in his first six holes and at 19 under par held the lead over Fasth. A four putt double bogey at the par three 8th stole the momentum from him and, although he still had a chance at the last, a bogey there put paid to any possibility of him joining the playoff.
The third place was shared by six players including Bjorn, Mattias Eliasson, Phillip Archer, Jose Manuel Lara, Gary Orr and David Griffiths who led into the final round but struggled early before a late comeback.
The Australians were headed by Victorian based New South Welshman, David Bransdon. He was the only Australian to make the cut and played well last week in Shanghai and certainly had his chances for an even higher finish this week. It was a sluggish last day although an eagle at the 16th saw him pick up yet another good cheque. Bransdon’s week was highlighted by a hole in one in the second round but he is probably still counting the cost of a triple bogey in round one.
The European Tour now heads to Italy for next week’s Italian Open before finally arriving in Britain.