Fichardt Wins Playoff at Qatar Masters


DOHA, Qatar -- Darren Fichardt birdied the first playoff hole to defeat fellow South African James Kingston on Sunday and win the Qatar Masters. The two men finished the tournament at 13-under-par 275, two strokes clear of the field.
Paul McGinley finished alone in third place at 11-under-par 277, with David Howell one stroke further back at minus-10.
Fichardt two-putted for birdie at the par-5 18th, the playoff hole, to claim the title. Kingston was unable to get up-and-down for birdie from a greenside bunker.
'My last playoff was not exactly glorious and today brought back memories,' said Fichardt in reference to his loss at the 2002 Irish Open. 'In Ireland, I found myself on a par-5 in two needing two putts to win and didn't do it. This time I managed to pull it off.'
Kingston and Fichardt shared the lead heading into the final round before Fichardt claimed his second European Tour victory in the playoff.
Fichardt played a very steady round. He parred the first nine holes to remain at 10-under and began to make his move on the back nine.
The 2001 Sao Paulo Brazil Open winner birdied the par-5 10th. After a string of five pars, Fichardt rolled in a birdie at the par-4 16th.
Fichardt then climbed into position for the playoff with a birdie at the par-5 18th.
'Basically, before coming here, my wife told me that I had to play whenever I could because you never know when the chance to win will come along,' said Fichardt, who nearly pulled out of the tournament. 'I am definitely very glad we made that decision.'
Kingston had taken the early lead during the final round when he rolled in a birdie at the par-4 seventh. However he gave that stroke back with a bogey at the next.
Around the turn, Kingston birdied the par-5 10th like Fichardt and regained the lead when he birdied the par-3 13th. He extended his advantage to two strokes with a birdie at the 14th.
However, Kingston parred the final five holes to set up the extra session. He was looking for his first European Tour win but came up short in the playoff.
'Winning my European Tour card is something I've always dreamed of,' said Kingston. 'Despite the disappointment I am ecstatic to have finally achieved it. At 37, I suppose you could say better late than never!'
Peter Fowler and Peter Hedblom tied for sixth place at 7-under-par 281. David Park was one stroke behind that duo at minus-6.

Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Qatar Masters
  • Full coverage of the Qatar Masters