TIANJIN, China — Brett Rumford became the first Australian in 41 years to win back-to-back European Tour titles with Sunday’s victory at the China Open.
Rumford shot a final-round 68 to win by four shots with a 16-under 272 total. Finland’s Mikko Ilonen shot a 71 to finish second at 12 under, with Victor Dubuisson (68) another shot back in third.
It had taken Rumford more than five years and 121 tour events to capture a fourth title at last week’s Ballantine’s Championship, but he has managed a fifth just seven days later.
“As with my win last week, I’m kind of speechless at the moment,” Rumford said. “It’s quite surreal. It’s the first time I’ve actually played the week after a win, so I’m more than pleased. It’s hard to get my head around it at the moment.”
The 36-year old Rumford holed a 45-foot putt for eagle at the par-5 12th hole to pull away from Ilonen, who could manage only a par to fall three behind.
Rumford then extended his lead to six shots when he birdied the 13th and 14th holes.
The only Australians to win back-to-back events on the European Tour were Jack Newton and Graham Marsh in 1972, the first year of the tour.
“It’s quite a feat and that makes it very special, so I feel very honored and special,” Rumford said.
Rumford moved to the top of the Race to Dubai standings, while his ranking has jumped from No. 253 to inside the top 80.
Portugal’s Ricardo Santos, who was rookie of the year in 2012, shot a 69 for a share of fifth place at 9 under, his fifth top-10 finish in nine events this year.
Sixteen-year-old Chinese amateur Dou Ze-cheng posted a final-round 73 to finish tied for a share of 33rd place with defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa (74) at 287.
Dou, the only amateur to make the cut, finished ahead of former Ryder Cup stars Edoardo Molinari of Italy (288), Niclaus Fasth of Sweden (292) and Philip Price of Wales (294).