A SIZZLING back nine performance has seen Australian Scott Strange claim the Volvo China Open by one shot and make history by becoming the first winner on the OneAsia Super Series.
The 33 year old West Australian shot a final round four under 68, including three birdies in his final five holes to claim the US$2.2 million event, the first event of the new OneAsia Super Series and co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
Strange finished the tournament on minus eight, one shot ahead of Spaniard Gonzalo Fdez-Castano with fellow Australian Ashley Hall, England’s Richard Finch and New Zealander Mark Brown a further stroke back in third.
The 32-year-old began the day in fifth spot and despite wet conditions Strange performed with aplomb, firing in five birdies for the day to take out his second Euopean Tour Event.
“I played solid and its course that was always going to suit me so I wasn’t going to get myself into too much trouble,” said Strange. “I didn’t tear the course apart but I played it the best I could and produced a score that ended up winning.”
Strange claimed the title, his second on the European Tour after he won the Wales Open in June last year pocketing a winner’s check for $US366,000 and added a bonus of at least US$155,000 courtesy of earning a spot in the elite 16-man field for the Volvo World Match Play Championship to be held later in the year in Spain.
The win last year in Wales was particularly emotional for the 33 year old whose sister lost a long battle with cancer weeks later so the victory today was one that came with mixed emotions.
“The win last year will always mean a lot to me with everything that was going on with my sister. This win is just as special it’s always nice to prove again that you can win again. My last win in Wales was surrounded by circumstances that weren’t too great so to win again it’s just as special. I am sure my family at home will be very happy and my sister if she were still here now would be pretty proud of me as well.”
Fellow Australian Ashley Hall finished the day in a tie for third spot following a one-under-par 71. It was a welcome return to form since winning the Subaru Victorian Open on the Australasian Tour in January. Hall appeared to have let things slip away when he was two-over after 14 holes, but he regrouped, coming home with three birdies in his last four holes to finish alongside overnight leader Richard Finch and Kiwi Mark Brown.
New South Welshman Kurt Barnes had a solid tournament, coming home with a final round six under 66 to finish in tie for 11th with Aaron Townsend also claiming a top 20 finish, closing at two under par for a tie for 16th position, with Marcus Fraser and David McKenzie tied 20th and even with the card.
(Original Material Courtesy PGA Australia)