Kjeldsen ends long drought with Irish Open win

Sun May 31, 2015 2:04pm EDT
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By Bernie McGuire

NEWCASTLE, Northern Ireland (Reuters) - Soren Kjeldsen ended a six-year victory drought to become the third Danish winner of the Irish Open, capturing a fourth career title with a birdie at the first extra playoff hole on Sunday.

The 40-year old, who also qualified for the Open Championship thanks to the win, went into the last day at the Royal County Down course leading by two shots but saw that disappear when commencing his round with back-to-back bogeys.

Kjeldsen then slipped further behind with a double bogey at the eighth before coming to the last hole and holing a short par putt to join England's Eddie Pepperell (69) and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (73) in a playoff following the Dane's round of a five-over-par 76 for a two under par total.

Kjeldsen then holed a four-foot birdie putt that actually did a half-loop of the cup at the first extra hole to deny his two rivals.

"I decided not to look at leaderboards today but once I started dropping shots I started looking and it gave me a little bit of pleasure that I was not the only one struggling out there," he told reporters.

"Overall it was just a brutal day out there and I was leaking shots left-right-and-center. I then played a great 3-wood in the playoff but then I have to say my heart was in my mouth when I saw my putt starting to horse-shoe.

"But then to see it drop was one the best moments in my career."

There was the added bonus for Kjeldsen of securing a place in July's Open Championship at St. Andrews.   Continued...

Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen celebrates his win with the trophy. The Irish Open - The Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland - 31/5/15. Action Images / Paul Childs