Lundberg Wins Russian Open in Playoff

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2005 Cadillac Russian OpenMOSCOW, Russia -- The last time Sweden's Mikael Lundberg held a 54-hole lead, he faded disastrously on the final day. He would not let it happen again.
 
Lundberg shot a 3-under 69 Sunday and outlasted England's Andrew Butterfield in a four-hole playoff to win the Russian Open and claim his maiden European Tour victory.
 
'This is incredible, a dream come true,' said Lundberg, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Saturday with a bogey-free 69 to take the lead. 'I came out today and tried to stick to my game plan, which I did.'
 
Lundberg led after three rounds for the first time since 2001, when he posted a final-round 80 at the European Open to fall into a tie for 34th place.
 
Butterfield fired a 6-under 66 in his final round to tie Lundberg atop the leaderboard at 15-under-par 273, playing his final six holes at minus-5 to force the sudden-death playoff.
 
It was the third playoff in the 10-year history of this dual-ranking event -- which features players from both the European and Challenge Tours -- and what a thrilling finish it was.
 
Butterfield got up-and-down for par from a bunker beside the 18th green to halve the first playoff hole before missing a 3-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to squander a chance to win.
 
After the players halved No. 18 for a third time, they headed for the par-5 17th, where they had both collected two birdies during the tournament.
 
Lundberg landed about 30 feet from the hole with a 3-wood on his second shot, setting up an eagle chance or -- at worst -- an good shot at birdie.
 
Butterfield went left of the green with his second shot and then let a chip shot get away to the other side of the green. He settled for par, and Lundberg simply two-putted for the win.
 
'I am just very happy to have come through the playoff,' said Lundberg. 'Having my European Tour card is a great feeling, not only for me but for my whole family. It feels fantastic.'
 
David Drysdale and Jarrod Moseley finished tied for third place after rounds of 67 and 68, respectively, at the par-72 Le Meridien Moscow Golf & Country Club, Russia's only 18-hole golf course. The duo ended at 12-under-par 276, with second-round leader Fredrik Widmark one stroke further back in fifth place after a 1-over 72.
 
Lundberg, who began the day with a one-stroke lead over countryman Widmark and France's Sebastien Delagrange, got off to a fast start with an eagle at the par-5 second to move to 14 under.
 
He made the turn at minus-15 after wrapping a pair of birdies around a bogey at the sixth, and then moved to 16-under with a birdie at No. 12.
 
Lundberg would have won without the playoff had he just played par the rest of the way, but he ended up dropping a stroke at the par-four 14th. Then, needing a birdie at No. 18 for the win, he drove into the fairway bunker before hitting a clutch shot to within five feet of the hole.
 
But he missed the short putt, and the European Tour had its 13th playoff of the season.
 
'I played quite safe, especially after 12 holes when I had a couple of shots advantage, but then Andrew played some great golf to catch up with me,' said Lundberg.
 
Butterfield, who began his round tied for fifth place at minus-9, played the front-nine at even-par after a birdie at No. 2 and a bogey at the ninth.
 
But he exploded on the back-nine, dropping a birdie at the par-4 10th and collecting back-to-back pars before playing the final six holes at 5-under par to reach minus-15. That stretch included his second-straight eagle at the par-5 15th.
 
Delagrange (73) shared sixth place at 10-under-par 278 with Spain's Jesus Maria Arruti (71), Ben Barham (68) and Shaun P. Webster (69) of England and Italian Michele Reale (66).
 
Swede Johan Edfors (70) and England's Ben Mason (72) finished one stroke further back in a tie for 11th place, one shot ahead of five players knotted in 13th.
 
Interestingly, five players tied for each of the next three positions as well.
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Cadillac Russian Open