Even an incredible final-round charge from a feisty young Englishman couldn’t stop Bernd Wiesberger from holding on Sunday.
The 31-year-old lost his entire three-shot lead in the final round of the Shenzhen International but victory was still his in the end.
Wiesberger fired a closing 1-under 71 to reach 16 under. That was good enough for a playoff, as Tommy Fleetwood fired a 9-under 63 to post at 16 under as well. By the time Wiesberger matched him in the clubhouse, Fleetwood had come from eight behind at the day’s beginning to dead even by the end of regulation.
The paired returned to Genzon Golf Club’s par-4 18th in pouring rain for a playoff, and Wiesberger proceeded to nearly hit his tee shot into the water right. But the Austrian, facing a shot from a bank with the ball well below his feet, responded with a stellar approach to 5 feet. After Fleetwood missed his birdie try from long range, Wiesberger cleaned up his birdie effort to take the title on the first extra hole.
This is Wiesberger’s fourth European Tour win but first since 2015. This all marks his first win in a playoff in his last four tries, as well as a victory after so many close calls of late.
Dating back to September, Wiesberger had two runner-up finishes among eight top 10s before Sunday’s win.
“I’m feeling a bit relieved now I have to say,” Wiesberger said, via Europeantour.com. “I’ve had a stretch of really good events the last couple of months and it’s really nice to have a trophy again.
“We have really good players out here, all up for it, playing well and throwing a lot at me. At the end of the day, I’m just glad I got myself into the spot where I could play for the title.”
Despite his advantage at the start of the day, Wiesberger was the one battling just to get into a playoff. Fleetwood posted a flawless 63 (an eagle and seven birdies) and waited in the clubhouse as the 26-year-old Englishman hoped he could earn his third European tour win and his second of the season.
Wiesberger was tied with Fleetwood at 16 under but had to make impressive par saves just to get into the house at that number. Wiesberger got up and down from a plugged lie at the par-3 12th and then made par at the par-5 17th despite hitting it into the water off the tee.
The Austrian actually nearly hit the pin with his second shot on the 72nd hole, but the ball missed the flagstick by inches as it hopped by some 20 feet past the hole. Wiesberger would two-putt from there for par.
Overall, Wiesberger closed regulation with 11 straight pars to match Fleetwood’s number and reach the playoff he would eventually win.
Ross Fisher and Gregory Bourdy tied for third at 15 under, with David Lipsky, Dylan Frittelli and Fabrizio Zanotti finishing joint fifth at 14 under.
Bubba Watson struggled to a closing 74, dropping 19 spots to a tie for 26th at 8 under.