Thongchai wins Ballantine’s Championship

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea (AP) Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee won the $2.9 million Ballantine’s Championship after a three-way playoff Sunday against Kang Wook-soon and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Thongchai closed with a 2-under 70 to finish 4-under 284 on Sunday along with first-round leader Fernandez-Castano and Kang, who carded a 68 in the final round at the jointly sanctioned Asian and European Tour event.

Thongchai won the playoff with a birdie on the extra hole, the par 4 18th, for his second win in two months.

Fernandez-Castano, who closed with a 3-under 69, overshot the green with his second shot and had to chip back with his third. Kang missed a birdie chance from six feet; Thongchai made no such mistake with his three-foot putt.

“When we got to the playoff, I knew that I would stand a good chance as I had just finished playing that hole about 15 minutes ago. I knew the distance well, and I was ready,” Thongchai said. “I just had to believe in myself that I can do it.”

Ernie Els finished in a four-way tie for fourth place, two shots off the pace at 2 under, and Fred Couples finished at 10 over.

Fernandez-Castano was coming off back-to-back second-place finishes this month – the Estoril Open in Portugal and at the Volvo China Open last weekend in Beijing – and was close to going one better at the Pinx Golf Club course.

“This is my third playoff in the last three weeks, and it really hurts,” the 28-year-old Spaniard said.

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