SHANGHAI, China (AP) — Raphael Jacquelin of France led from start to finish to win the Asian Open by two strokes Sunday for his second European Tour victory.
Jacquelin shot a 1-over 73 in the storm-affected final round to finish at 10 under for the tournament, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours. The win is redemption for last week’s China Open, also in Shanghai, where Jacquelin seized the lead after the second round only to have it slip away.
Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen finished second at 8-under after also shooting a 73 in the final round, while Australian Scott Hend (75) and Scotland’s Simon Yates (74) were another shot back.
“It is a fantastic moment,” said Jacquelin, whose maiden tour victory came at the 2005 Open de Madrid in Spain after 238 tour starts. “When you are in a position to win it is always difficult to finish, but to be a winner you have to finish.”
Despite the start of the round being moved up to 6:30 a.m. to avoid a forecast thunderstorm, players still battled rain and fierce winds on the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club’s reconfigured 7,326-yard course. Jacquelin was fortunate to start strongly before the wind and rain blew in, picking up three birdies on the front nine. With the changing weather playing havoc with his approaches, he conceded bogies on four of the last six holes.
“We had a lot of chances on the front nine and that is what I did,” Jacquelin said. “Then the wind picked up and the rain, and it was tough. My shots were not so good, so I played for the good side of the green to try and save par.”
Still chasing his first win of the season, South African Ernie Els shot an even-par 72 to finish tied for fifth at 6 under. Els who won the tournament by 13 strokes in 2005, was undermined by the patchy putting that ruined his earlier rounds.
“I hit the ball from tee to green pretty well, but my putter let me down most of the week,” Els said.