Hansen Survives Four-Man Playoff in Ireland


CORK, Ireland -- Soren Hansen survived a four-hole playoff Sunday to win the Murphy's Irish Open. Hansen outlasted Darren Fichardt, Niclas Fasth and Richard Bland to earn his first career victory on the European Tour.
It all came down to the 72nd hole during regulation at Fota Island Golf Club Sunday. Hansen was two shots behind Fichardt, who was in the clubhouse at 14-under-par 270. After a booming drive at the par-5 last, Hansen knocked his second shot inside five feet for eagle to join Fichardt atop the leaderboard.
Bland trailed by one stroke and also had an eagle try at the last. The Englishman's putt stopped short of the hole en route to a birdie and a share of the lead. Fasth was the last to join the logjam with a two-putt birdie of his own as the group returned to the 18th tee to begin the extra session.
Hansen talks more about his close win.
Fichardt was the only one to find the fairway off the tee as the other players left themselves with difficult second shots behind and underneath trees. Hansen's hopes seemed to shatter as the Dane went for the green from the rough and watched as his ball rolled into the water next to the putting surface.
After Fasth knocked his ball back onto the fairway, the Swede landed his third shot on the green. Fichardt reached the green in two and had a legitimate eagle try for the win.
Hanson took the drop and chipped his fourth shot onto the putting surface within eight feet of the hole. He saved par as his competitors failed to capitalize.
Fichardt three-putted for par while Fasth rolled his birdie try passed the hole. Fasth made the par coming back to match Bland, whose short birdie try horseshoed out.
'I thought it was all over at the first playoff hole but Darren and Richard both missed and I then grabbed my chance,' said Hansen.
The players returned to the tee to play a second extra hole. Each had better success than their previous tries except for Bland, who was eliminated after he failed to convert on a long birdie try.
Fichardt, Fasth and Hansen moved on to the first tee to continue the playoff. All three players two-putted the green for par as the trio went on to play the par-3 17th.
Fichardt landed his tee shot onto the putting surface, as did Hansen. Fasth, however, missed the green off the tee and put his hope on Fichardt and Hansen failing to convert their birdie attempts.
Fichardt played first and ran his putt just right of the hole. He tapped in for par and watched as Hansen drained the 12-foot putt for the win.
'I played well the first two days but in the third and fourth rounds I was struggling but hanging in there and got the birdies at the right time,' said Hansen, who shot a 3-under 68 in the final round. 'I played some crackling shots from the 15th and knew I needed an eagle on the last.'
Hansen held a share of the overnight lead but struggled out of the gate with a bogey at the first. He reached 12-under after back-to-back birdies from the fifth before running into trouble with a bogey at the seventh.
At the very next hole, Hansen chipped in for birdie to remain within one shot of the lead.
The 28-year-old bogeyed the 12th but got the shot back with a birdie at the 14th. He parred the next three holes before making the crucial eagle at the last.
One month ago, fellow Dane Anders Hansen earned his first career victory at the Volvo PGA Championship.
'It is strange to follow Anders,' Soren said of his close friend. 'It was always me doing something and Anders catching up afterwards. The last few weeks I have been playing so well I thought it was just a matter of time.'
Fellow Dane Thomas Bjorn was almost a part of the playoff but his long eagle try at the 18th was no good. Bjorn also missed the birdie try for a round of 70 and a fifth place finish at 12-under-par 272.
Full-field scores from the Murphy's Irish Open