Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to defeat Eddie Pepperell of England and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger and win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.

Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to defeat Eddie Pepperell of England and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger and win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.

In extremely testing conditions on the final day at Royal County Down, Kjeldsen saw his two-shot 54-hole lead evaporate within two holes, as he opened with a pair of bogeys.

It was a battle for survival around the challenging Northern Irish links and only four players shot under-par rounds on the final day. One of those to do so was England’s Eddie Pepperell. He produced a superb 68 to set a clubhouse total of two-under-par.

That number was matched by Bernd Wiesberger who posted a 73 to also end the week on two-under-par. At that stage, Kjeldsen had two holes to play and he held a one-stroke advantage at the top of the leaderboard.

But the 40-year-old three-putted on the 17th for a bogey and then only narrowly made a par at the home hole to make it a three-way playoff for the title.

The three remaining protagonists then returned to the par-5 18th to settle the event over extra holes. Kjeldsen played the hole well with a drive down the middle and a second shot to the putting surface. Both Wiesberger and Pepperell took less conventional routes. In the end, Pepperell was left with a birdie chip, which didn’t drop, and Wiesberger was unable to hole his birdie effort from the back of the green.

Having played a reasonable approach putt, Kjeldsen then faced a putt for a birdie and the win. He watched on anxiously as it rattled around the hole, but it eventually dropped. It was Kjeldsen’s fourth European Tour victory, but his first since the 2009 Open de Andalucia.

Although disappointed to miss out on victory, Pepperell could console himself with the fact his second place finish earned him a place in The Open Championship at St Andrews in July. Kjeldsen and Tyrrell Hatton of England took the other two places available.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation
Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, Northern Ireland
May 28-31
Purse: €2,500,000, par 71

1    Soren Kjeldsen (Den)    69    70    67    76    282    €416,660
T2    Eddie Pepperell (Eng)    74    72    67    69    282    €217,135
T2    Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 72    67    70    73    282    €217,135
T4    Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 71    68    69    75    283    €115,500
T4    Tyrrell Hatton (Eng)    73    66    70    74    283    €115,500
T6    Andy Sullivan (Eng)    74    70    69    71    284    €81,250
T6    Danny Willett (Eng)    69    76    71    68    284    €81,250
T8    Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 71    72    70    72    285    €59,250
T8    Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 67    76    65    77    285    €59,250

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage