Omega European Masters: Sebastian Soderberg prevails after five-man play-off

Sebastian Soderberg
Sebastian Soderberg

Rory McIlroy lost out in a dramatic five-man play-off as Sebastian Soderberg won his first European Tour title at the Omega European Masters.


Leaderboard

-14 Soderberg, Gagli, McIlroy, Romero, Samooja

-13 Arnaus, Lorenzo-Vera

-12 Fleetwood, Herbert, Ormsby, Schwab,

*Soderberg won after five-way play-off


Day four report

Rory McIlroy lost out in a dramatic five-man play-off as Sebastian Soderberg won his first European Tour title at the Omega European Masters.

The Northern Irishman was seeking redemption in the Swiss mountains after bogeying the last and losing a play-off 11 years ago in his rookie season, but it was to be more heartbreak for the world number two.

He admitted after bogeying three of his last five holes in round three that he felt "flat" following his FedEx Cup win in Atlanta seven days ago, and his race looked to be run after 10 holes of round four as he slipped four shots off the lead.

He made four birdies in a row from the 12th to put himself back into contention but that could not keep pace with playing partner Soderberg, as the Swede made five straight from the 10th.

Another McIlroy gain on the 17th moved him to 14 under and, when Soderberg three-putted the same hole for a bogey, they went up the last all square.

McIlroy sent his tee shot into the trees on the right but made a fantastic up-and-down from distance and a missed birdie putt from Soderberg meant the pair were going to extra holes alongside Lorenzo Gagli, Andres Romero and Kalle Samooja.

Gagli found water with his second on the trip back up the last, while Romero missed the green, leaving McIlroy, Soderberg and Samooja with birdie putts after a trio of excellent approaches.

Soderberg holed from ten feet to put the pressure on his rivals and he was crowned the champion as McIlroy and Samooja both missed their opportunities.

"Too many mistakes," McIlroy told Sky Sports Golf. "I think I made 13 bogeys during the week. I made enough birdies but I just didn't have it over the weekend.

"It's been another solid week, coming back across the Atlantic. Now I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks off."

Spaniard Adri Arnaus and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera finished a shot outside of the play-offs, one clear of a group containing England's Tommy Fleetwood.

Day three report

Andres Romero opened up a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Omega European Masters but Ryder Cup stars Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy were well in contention in Switzerland.

Argentinian Romero's hopes looked to be fading when he dropped three shots in his opening five holes and McIlroy and Australian Wade Ormsby established a two-shot lead.

But as McIlroy and Ormsby produced late stumbles, Romero came home in 31 to sign for a 66 and lead the way at 14 under.

The 38-year-old produced a brilliant run of scoring on the back nine, going birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie from the 13th to edge a shot ahead of Ormsby, who bogeyed the last in his round of 67.

Englishman Fleetwood had bogeyed the second, third and sixth playing alongside Romero but birdied the ninth, 12th, 14th, 15th and 17th to sit at 12 under alongside Malaysia's Gavin Green.

"It's easy to get down on yourself," Fleetwood told europeantour.com. "It was a terrible start but I didn't do that much wrong.

"I had a good finish. It's that kind of golf course where you can get hot. Tomorrow I definitely need a better start but the back nine, need more of that."

World number two McIlroy arrived in Crans Montana just hours after lifting the FedEx Cup in Atlanta on the PGA Tour and showed signs of fatigue as he bogeyed three of his last five holes to sit three shots off the lead after a round of 69.

"I felt a little flat out there, a little tired," the Northern Irishman said. "Maybe it just all caught up with me. I'm looking forward to getting to bed early and getting a good night's sleep.

"I played pretty solid, made those mistakes coming in. If I go out and play a good front nine tomorrow I'll be right in it."

Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Lorenzo Gagli and Kalle Samooja were also at 11 under, a shot clear of major champion Sergio Garcia, Renato Paratore, Matthias Schwab and Sebastian Soderberg.


Day two report

Rory McIlroy picked up five shots in his last five holes to fly up the leaderboard and sit just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend at the Omega European Masters.

The Northern Irishman arrived in Switzerland fresh off winning USD 15million for his FedEx Cup victory on Sunday but was eight shots off the lead when he teed off in round two after a 64 had moved Gavin Green to 11 under.

McIlroy could not catch the Malaysian but he showed the sort of form that has won him four majors, posting a 63 to sit alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Tommy Fleetwood in second.

World number two McIlroy, who has brought his wife and in-laws to Crans Montana, has admitted the pressure is off this week after his PGA Tour heroics, but he is still determined to lift the trophy at an event where he lost a play-off in his rookie season 11 years ago.

"Going out this afternoon eight shots off the lead, you know there are scores out there but you don't want to push too hard," he told Sky Sports Golf. "Getting myself much closer to the lead going into the weekend was nice.

"It's very easy for me to be patient this week after what's just happened. Even if I do make a bogey, I'm having a good time here, I'm enjoying myself. That's probably part of the reason why I finished like that after three bogeys in the first 12 holes.

"I'm excited to give myself another chance to win. It would have been easy for me to take my foot off the gas after last week but I really wanted to come here and play well."

McIlroy was two under for his round after 13 holes but huge drives on the two following par fives helped him go birdie-eagle and he added further gains with smart iron play on the 16th and 17th.

Englishman Fleetwood also went birdie-eagle on the 14th and 15th and then picked up shots on the seventh and ninth in a second consecutive 65.

Australian Wade Ormsby, Argentinian Andres Romero and Austrian Matthias Schwab were also a shot clear of Green, who made eight birdies and two bogeys in his round.


Day one report

Mike Lorenzo-Vera in action at the European Masters at Crans Montana
Mike Lorenzo-Vera in action at the European Masters at Crans Montana

Mike Lorenzo-Vera reflected on a satisfying return to action after making an impressive start to the Omega European Masters.

The 34-year-old Frenchman took a five-week break to get married and move house and put some of his success down to the mental side of his game after taking a share of the lead after the first round.

The event has attracted some of the sport's big names, yet it is Lorenzo-Vera and Matthias Schwab, both of who are targeting a first European Tour victory, who set the pace with opening rounds of 63 at Crans Montana.

Schwab had set the target in the morning with a bogey-free effort before Lorenzo-Vera came home in 29 to join him at seven under par.

He told the European Tour website: "I'm very happy because I just had five weeks off. It was a stressful five weeks with a wedding and moving plus two kids. I managed to bring the head together pretty well today."

Lorenzo-Vera has already had two second-place finishes this season and has spoken of how his work with a psychologist has helped him get closer to that elusive first victory.

He continued: "The best thing to do (with so much going on) is to have a very, very good psychologist, that you call often. I'm not kidding, that's really what I do.

"Try to clean the head as much as possible outside the tournaments and come here fresh and ready to play golf."

The 34-year-old birdied the second but double bogeyed the fourth after an unfortunate bounce before hitting back with birdies on the seventh, ninth and 10th.

A gain on the 13th was then followed by a long putt for eagle on the par 14th, a birdie on the second of the back-to-back par fives and another gain after a slippery putt on the 16th.

Earlier, Austria's Schwab birdied the fourth - via a bunker shot - fifth, seventh and eighth, and a chip helped set up a birdie on the par-five ninth as he turned in 30.

Another gain on the 13th put him two clear and a two-putt birdie on the 15th moved him to seven under.

"It reminds me of home a lot," he said. "I grew up in the mountains and still live there. I like being here, I like the mountains.

"I don't know if growing up at altitude is an advantage, you still have to hit shots and play good shots."

Lorenzo Gagli, Mikko Korhonen and Sebastian Soderberg were the pair's closest challengers a shot back, one clear of a group of six players including Tommy Fleetwood, Jamie Donaldson and David Drysdale.

Sergio Garcia was in a group of 11 three shots off the lead on four under par, one clear of world number two Rory McIlroy, who had 15 for company.

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