Jaidee earns 5th European Tour title
Newport, Wales (Sports Network) - Thongchai Jaidee stumbled to bogeys on two of his last three holes Sunday, but managed to hold on for a one-stroke victory at the Wales Open.
Jaidee closed with a one-over 72 to finish at six-under-par 278. The win was Jaidee's fifth on the European Tour, but first on European soil. His previous four titles all occurred in Asia.
"I'm excited to win. It is very special week for me," Jaidee said.
Joost Luiten was atop the leaderboard early on the back nine, but stumbled down the stretch. He also carded a 72 to end in a tie for second place at minus-five.
Luiten was joined there by Thomas Bjorn (68), Richard Sterne (68) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (67).
Ross Fisher, who was in the final group, was given a one-stroke penalty for slow play on Sunday. He posted a two-over 73 to end alongside Paul McGinley (65) in sixth at four-under-par 280 at Celtic Manor.
Jaidee led by one at the start of the round, but had a poor front nine. He tripped to a bogey on the fourth to slip to six-under. After four straight pars, disaster struck at the ninth.
The 42-year-old pulled a fairway bunker shot out of bounds on the ninth. That led to a double-bogey, which dropped him to minus-four.
Jaidee was two strokes out of the lead at that point, but around the turn he flew back up the leaderboard.
He ran off three straight birdies from the 10th to jump back into the lead at minus-seven. Jaidee pushed his lead to two with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 15th.
Fernandez-Castano and Sterne were already in the clubhouse at five-under. Jaidee and Luiten, who were in the final group with Fisher, both tripped to bogeys on 16.
Bjorn was one back at that point, but he tripped to a bogey on the 17th, then parred the last to end at five-under.
Again armed with a two-stroke cushion, Jaidee parred the 17th, then knocked his third over the green at the last. He chipped on, but missed his par-saving putt which cut his winning margin from two to one.
"I tried to hit everything on the fairway. That's the main thing, then hit the ball on the green. It was very, very tough for me, not like Thailand," Jaidee exclaimed.
The final group was on the clock for slow play for several holes. Fisher stood one off the lead at minus-six with three bogeys and three birdies through 11 holes.
At the 14th, Fisher was given another bad time, which meant he was assessed a one-stroke penalty. He later bogeyed the 17th to slip to minus-four.
"On the second shot to No. 11, he managed to take 55 seconds, which is 15 seconds more than he's allowed. That was his first bad time. I allowed his second shot into 12 and because of the nature, I didn't count that one," explained chief referee John Paramor. "But then on the 14th green, he had a putt of about 14 feet and he took again 55 seconds when he's allowed 40."
NOTES: Jaidee earned 372,720 euros for the win...He went 78 tour events between wins...Jaidee became the oldest winner of this tournament...The tour heads to Sweden next week for the Nordea Masters, where Alexander Noren is the defending champion. Noren was also the winner of this event last year, but withdrew after the first round...Next week's event will run from Wednesday to Saturday in order to give players and extra day for travel to the U.S. Open, which is the following week in California.
06/03 14:28:41 ET