Allenby beats Stenson in dramatic play-off at Nedbank Golf Challenge

2009-12-07 00:00

SUN CITY — He managed to find the 18th green in regulation at his seventh attempt this week, and that was enough to give Robert Allenby the victory in a sudden-death play-off with Henrik Stenson in the $4,385 million Nedbank Golf Challenge yesterday.

The pair was locked on 11-under-par 277 after regulation play.

The Australian and the Swede needed three attempts at the 18th in the play-off before Allenby found the green for the first time during the week.

With Stenson all but out of it with his approach hard against the stand, and a precipitous downhill chip out of trampled kikuyu awaiting him, it looked to be safe and sound for Allenby.

He two-putted, admittedly, but Stenson’s chip had scooted 25 feet past the hole, and his bold return attempt at par was well past.

Allenby’s victory achieved what Greg Norman, David Graham, Craig Parry, Steve Elkington and Stuart Appelby before him had failed to do.

“I thought we were going to be there all night,” he said after the pair had halved the first two play-off holes in par.

“But I’m proud to be the first Australian to win this title, and I knew once Henrik pushed his approach out right, I had a chance if I could hit the green in regulation,” he added.

Allenby went one-under for the final round to overtake overnight leader Retief Goosen, who started two shots ahead of him.

He had a shot at winning it comfortably in regulation after he birdied the 17th, but his inability to find the 18th green saw him bogey it and having to trudge off back to the 18th tee for the play-off.

It was Goosen’s tournament to lose after he started the day two ahead of Allenby, and he managed to do just that with his driver not performing, and it all finally fell apart for him on the 14th.

This time, it was not his driver at fault, but a fairway wood that skewed left into the dense bush. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to get out, and then had to take a drop for an unplayable lie.

Incredibly, he nearly sank what looked like an impossible chip out of the trouble as his ball bounced out of the hole, rolling past the pin. He made his return putt for bogey.

Although he had an opportunity to birdie the 17th, he was fractionally adrift and the chance to get back into contention was lost.

It was a tough day for everyone, and defending champion Stenson did the best of all with his three-under 69.

South Africa’s Tim Clark also shot a 69, and got himself into a share of third with Ross Fisher of England, who was next best with his 70, with Masters champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina finishing with a 75 and taking sixth.

Scores:

277 -Robert Allenby (AUS) 68 70 68 71 (won on third extra playoff hole)

277 -Henrik Stenson (SWE) 70 68 70 69

278 -Tim Clark (RSA) 69 72 68 69, Ross Fisher (ENG) 73 69 66 70

279 -Retief Goosen (RSA) 69 68 67 75

281 -Angel Cabrera (ARG) 71 67 68 75

282 -Nick Watney (USA) 73 73 63 73

283 -Luke Donald (ENG) 72 71 68 72

284 -Robert Karlsson(SWE) 70 72 71 71

286 -Hunter Mahan (USA) 70 71 72 73

292 -Richard Sterne (RSA) 72 75 70 75

RTD -Rory McIlroy (NIR) 73 76 RTD RTD

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