A three-man playoff was needed to decide the winner of the Nordea Masters in Malmo, Sweden. Here are 5 Things you need to know about the latest event on the European Tour.
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1. PLAYING SPOILER: It was supposed to be the Henrik Stenson show, but Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee crashed the World No. 2’s party. The 44-year-old took the title in a playoff over Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and Victor Dubuisson of France.
Jaidee posted a closing 65 to book his place in the playoff. He took full advantage to win his sixth European Tour title, but first in more than two years.
Jaidee birdied the first playoff hole when the trio returned to the 18th after tying on 16-under totals of 272.
Stenson had a chance to win on the par-5 18th hole in the final round. He stood in the fairway at 15 under. He needed eagle to win outright and birdie to get into the playoff. He didn’t make either. He pushed his approach shot wide and took four more shots to get down for a double-bogey six.
Stenson has won eight times on the European Tour, but never in his homeland. He was desperate to win in Malmo, but will now have to wait until next year.
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2. EDGING CLOSER: Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher may have missed out on the title but both moved closer to a place on the European Ryder Cup team. They each earned €130,280, with each euro worth one Ryder Cup point.
Dubuisson is pretty much a lock for Gleneagles after outstanding play at the end of last year. He entered the tournament No. 1 on the European points list and strengthened that spot with his joint runner-up finish.
Gallacher was 12th on the European points list before the tournament and now moves up to ninth, with the top four getting Ryder Cup places.
Dubuisson should make his Ryder Cup debut, but Scottish golf fans will be hoping Gallacher makes the side so they can cheer on one of their own.
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3. FINDING HIS FORM: Eddie Pepperell has somehow found a run of form after a fairly miserable three months. The 23-year-old Englishman found himself in the last group on Sunday along with Stenson. He could only manage an even-par 72, which included a bogey six at the final hole. However, he posted a T-6 finish to earn €45,000 and make his fourth cut in a row.
Pepperell missed five straight cuts before finishing T-57 in the Volvo China Open last month. He got into contention for the Spanish Open before a third-round 79 derailed his chances, eventually finishing T-24. He earned over €50,000 for a T-21 in the BMW PGA Championship before Sweden. With earnings of over €135,000, he’s well on his way to keeping his playing rights for 2015.
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4. WELCOME BACK: Alvaro Quiros was supposed to be vying for a Ryder Cup place this year. That was all the talk at the last Ryder Cup, with everyone expecting the long-hitting Spaniard to be fitted for Ryder Cup jacket at Gleneagles. However, Quiros has been missing in action for quite some time.
Quiros recorded six European Tour victories between 2007 and 2011, but injuries and a loss of form saw him falter over the last two years.
Quiros got into contention after scores of 71, 67 and 66. He eventually finished T-7 for his third top 10 of the season. He finished third in China last month.
He probably won’t make this year’s European Ryder Cup team but it’s good to see the affable Quiros back contending for titles.
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5. FALLING SHORT: Remember Jarmo Sandelin? He’s the guy who played in the 1999 Ryder Cup, the guy who had a spat with Mark O’Meara during the 1997 Trophee Lancôme, accusing O’Meara of not marking his ball properly.
Sandelin made something of a comeback in the Nordea Masters. The 47-year-old Swede has been without a tour card since 2010. He’s only made 14 European Tour starts in the last three years. If he was hoping to regain some form in Malmo then he got a rude awakening. Sandelin opened with an 80 and then added an 86 to finish 22 over for his 36 holes.
Bet he can’t wait for the European Senior Tour.