European Masters: Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg wins five-way play-off
Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg held his nerve to claim his first European Tour title in a dramatic five-way play-off at the European Masters in Switzerland.
Soderberg, 28, finished tied at 14 under alongside Rory McIlroy, Lorenzo Gagli, Kalle Samooja and overnight leader Andres Romero following Sunday’s final round at Crans-sur-Sierre.
The Swede then birdied the first play-off hole to win the red jacket.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood finished on 12 under in a tie for eighth.
Following his victory, Soderberg said: “It’s unbelievable. I’ve dreamt of playing on the European Tour – even better doing it this way.
“I was more nervous in the beginning than I was towards the back nine. I got on a good run and the ball kept going in. Just playing with Rory, so many people around, playing with a guy like that adds heat to it right away.
“I proved to myself that I can play out here. I didn’t really know that I was ready to win, I had a terrible start to the season and I felt like I was just trying to make my way into the top 110 and keep my card for next year. It’s just a surreal way to do it.”
World number two McIlroy – who won the Tour Championship to secure a prize of £12.2m in the US last Sunday – recorded five birdies in the last seven holes for a final-round score of 67 to race back into contention.
The Northern Irishman claimed on Saturday the exertions at the play-offs on the PGA Tour had caught up with him, but on Sunday he appeared to have the momentum as he chased victory 11 years on from missing out on a maiden European Tour title in a play-off defeat by Jean-Francois Lucquin.
Eventual winner Soderberg, who began the day four shots off the lead, missed a fine birdie opportunity to take the outright lead on the 18th, while Argentina’s Romero arrived at the final hole aware a birdie would seal the win.
Romero, ranked 735th in the world, appeared to have dropped out of contention on the final round but recovered with three birdies in four to reach 14 under on his penultimate hole as an entertaining final round culminated in the event’s sixth play-off in seven years.