Golf

Rumford wins Ballantine's in playoff

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP)

Australia's Brett Rumford eagled the first hole of a three-way playoff to win the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea on Sunday.

Rumford was leading by two shots when he double-bogeyed No. 17. He holed a 10-foot par putt at the last to finish at 11-under 277 and force a playoff with Marcus Fraser of Australia and Peter Whiteford of Scotland.

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Rumford then holed a 4-foot eagle to earn the victory.

''I battled today with my driver constantly as I was leaking a few drives right, including the whole back nine when I was feeling stuck, so I had a quick word to Pete (coach Peter Cowen) and then hit about five or six balls off the first tee, and that did the trick ... it's a funny game because it was an absolute roller-coaster ride of emotions out there this afternoon,'' said Rumford.

''Of course, what happened at 17 made my work a whole lot more difficult but I'm really pleased with my result, and thanks also to my caddy `Ronnie' (Englishman John Roberts) and I owe a lot to him for the progress we've had since he's been on the bag.''

Rumford is the first Australian to win on the European Tour in two years and he drew on the inspiration of Adam Scott who became the first Australian to win the Masters earlier this month.

''Scotty's win was a huge inspiration to all of us,'' he said. ''It's just good on the European Tour side of things as we needed to make a shift and get a few runs on the board because the Aussie guys in the U.S. have been doing a great job.''

Rumford started his final round in sizzling manner with six birdies in his opening nine holes including four in succession from the sixth hole.

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Whiteford let slip a maiden European Tour win in his 142nd event when he missed a five-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

South African Louis Oosthuizen, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 7, shot a final-round 69 to finish three strokes behind the leaders in a share of fifth place.

However, for a second day running the former Open champion came unstuck at the par-three No. 13, recording a double bogey and a day after walking off the same hole with a triple bogey.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee produced the lowest final-round score of 65 to finish among five players tied in sixth at 7 under.

Tagged: Peter Whiteford, Brett Rumford

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