Bjorn beats Garcia in playoff to win Dunlop Phoenix

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn won the 200 million yen ($1.9 million) Dunlop Phoenix golf tournament in Miyazaki, Japan in a playoff with Spanish sensation Sergio Garcia after the two tied at 14-under-par 270 total for 72 holes.

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn won the 200 million yen ($1.9 million) Dunlop Phoenix golf tournament in Miyazaki, Japan in a playoff with Spanish sensation Sergio Garcia after the two tied at 14-under-par 270 total for 72 holes.

Both Bjorn and and Garcia parred the first three extra holes before Bjorn won the playoff with a birdie at the par-5 18th hole. Garcia shot a par on the last hole.

It was the 28-year-old Bjorn's first victory in Japan.

Bjorn received the first prize money of 40 million yen ($377,000) and Garcia collected 20 million yen ($189,000) for second place.

Trailing Garcia by three strokes after 12 holes on the 6,856-yard (6,267-meter), par-71 Phoenix Country Club course, Bjorn birdied three of the final four holes on his way to a four-under-par 67 for a 14-under 270 total, forcing the playoff with the 19-year-old Spaniard.

"Birdieing three of the last four holes isn't easy on this course, but I hit some good shots at the right time," Bjorn said.

"I was a lot less nervous than I thought I'd be (in the play-off). That shows I had more confidence than I believed, because I was up against one of the best players in the world," he added.

Garcia also shot a 67 with six birdies and a double bogey on Sunday.

Japan's Shigeki Maruyama shot a 65 and placed third with a 271 total.

Greg Norman of Australia shot a 63 and shared fourth place with defending champion Lee Westwood of England and Naomichi "Joe" Ozaki of Japan at 276.

Westwood shot 64 and Ozaki had 69 on Sunday.

Bjorn, who won the European Tour's Sarazen World Open five weeks ago, picked up some valuable world rankings points.

He came into the event ranked 55th and his goal is to get into the top 50 by the end of the year, thus securing a berth in next April's Masters.

"This should get me into the Masters," Bjorn said, "I went out to do a job and I've done that."

Bjorn, a member of the victorious 1997 European Ryder Cup team, will play at the Australian Open starting on Thursday, while Garcia will compete in the American Skins Game next weekend.

Garcia refused to attend a press conference, but before climbing into a mini-van, he said: "Thomas played really well and he deserved it."

Dunlop Phoenix final scores of the Dunlop Phoenix golf tournament in Miyazaki, Japan on the 6,856-yard (6,267 meter), par-71 Phoenix Country Club course (Japanese unless stated):

Thomas Bjorn, Denmark 69-66-68-67-270 (Winner in playoff)Sergio Garcia, Spain 68-67-68-67-270Shigeki Maruyama 71-74-61-65-271Greg Norman, Australia 67-73-73-63-276Lee Westwood, England 71-67-74-64-276Naomichi "Joe" Ozaki 70-72-65-69-276Toshimitsu Izawa 71-69-68-69-277Kaname Yokoo 65-72-70-70-277Tsukasa Watanabe 70-68-71-69-278Hidemichi Tanaka 67-72-67-72-278Retief Goosen, South Africa 74-67-69-69-279Hiroyuki Fujita 67-72-68-72-279Also,Darren Clarke, Northern Ireland 70-70-72-70-282Mathew Goggin, Australia 67-75-69-71-282Andrew Coltart, Scotland 74-71-69-69-283Todd Hamilton, United States 71-70-71-71-283David Howell, England 75-73-70-68-286J.M. Singh, India 74-70-73-69-286Chen Tze-chung, Taiwan 72-70-70-74-286Brandt Jobe, United States 74-72-71-70-287Brian Watts, United States 76-73-68-70-287Jose Maria Olazabal, Spain 69-74-73-71-287Masashi "Jumbo" Ozaki 71-69-74-74-288 Yeh Chang-ting, Taiwan 75-72-68-73-288Kim Jong-duck, South Korea 74-71-72-72-289David Smail, New Zealand 75-71-71-72-289Jean Van de Velde, France 75-74-70-73-292Zaw Moe, Myanmar 75-74-70-74-293David Ishii, United States 72-75-70-76-293Graham Marsh, Australia 76-72-74-72-294Steve Conran, Australia 72-71-77-78-298Frankie Minoza, Philippines 76-73-73-77-299Peter McWhinney, Australia 74-75-76-75-300

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