Sandelin celebrates end to tour title drought

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The Independent Online

Jarmo Sandelin claimed his first European Tour title for more than two years with victory in the inaugural BMW Asian Open in Taiwan.

The Swede had a final-round 68 for a 10-under-par total of 278, one shot clear of Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee, to collect the first prize of £171,000. His countryman Carl Pettersson finished in a tie for fourth alongside England's Barry Lane, two shots further back.

Sandelin, whose last win, at the German Open in 1999, effectively sealed his Ryder Cup place at Brookline, began the final day one shot off the lead held by Pettersson and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, but soon doubled his deficit when he dropped a shot on the opening hole. However, he responded superbly with four birdies in his next five holes and another on the ninth took him out in 32, four under for the day and 10 under for the tournament.

A brilliant approach to six feet set up another birdie on the 208-yard 11th and took Sandelin three shots clear of the field before his first mistake of the day, a bogey on the 16th after his approach flew over the green, set up a nerve-wracking finish. Olazabal had already set the clubhouse target on nine under with a birdie on the 18th, while Jaidee could have forced a play-off by matching the Spaniard's feat, but his long birdie effort came up inches short.

The 16th had, in fact, been a costly hole for Sandelin all week. He ran up a quadruple-bogey eight in the pro-am on Wednesday, a double-bogey six in the first round and bogeys on Friday and yesterday with just one par on Saturday.

"In the pro-am I went in the water so today I just thought make sure you get over the water but I was so far over I was almost in the bushes and saw some monkeys, I think," Sandelin said afterward. "I also made a big mistake on the 14th when the group in front were looking for a ball.

"We made the decision to go through and I hit a really bad three-wood and then realised it was better to be behind the guy who was chasing me because suddenly I could not see what was going on behind me."

Fortunately for Sandelin the man chasing him, Thailand's Jaidee, could not birdie any of the final four holes to force a play-off and the Swede held on for his fifth tour title.

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