The 2007 Telecom Italia Open in Milan went down to a playoff yesterday, with Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano beating Markus Brier of Austria on the second hole of sudden death for his third European PGA Tour title.
Fernandez-Castano fired a seven-under-par 65 in Sunday action and finished 16-under for the tournament.
The playoff win capped a miraculous comeback for Fernandez-Castano, who began the day five shots off the lead. He scorched the back nine, with birdies on five of the last nine holes, and an eagle on the par-5 15th.
"Five shots is a lot to make up on a course where everybody can make birdies," Fernandez-Castano told the Reuters news agency. "I haven't been playing well but my attitude changed this week, probably because I love coming to Italy, great food, great course, great people," he added.
Brier, who won last month at the Volvo Open in Shanghai, birdied two of his last three holes to earn a place in the playoff (Brier shot a final round 68).
Defending champion and local favorite Francesco Molinari made a late charge, recording eight birdies on his round (including five on the back nine) for a 65. He tied for third with England's Nick Dougherty and Fredrik Andersson-Hed and Henrik Nystrom of Sweden.
Tournament officials decided on Saturday to reduce play to 54 holes due to bad weather, which had delayed play several times throughout the championship.
May 7, 2007
With stellar play on the back nine at Royal Birkdale, Padraig Harrington shot a 69 in the final round to earn a four-shot victory and become Europe's first back-to-back British Open champion in more than a century. He earned nearly $1.5 million and climbed to No. 3 in the world rankings. "I'm really thrilled with the way I felt today on the golf course," Harrington said. "I hit the ball as pure as I could and just felt really good."
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