In front of 14,000 enthralled spectators, Fabrizio Zanotti, of Paraguay, emerged triumphant at the fifth extra hole of a sudden-death play-off to win the BMW International Open at Gut Lärchenhof. Four players – Henrik Stenson (SWE), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP), Gregory Havret (FRA) and Zanotti – made it through to the playoff after finishing on 19 under par in regulation play, but it was Zanotti who outlasted them all to claim his maiden victory on the European Tour and a first prize of €330,330.
Havret, at the second extra hole, and Cabrera-Bello, at the fourth, were the first to fall by the wayside in the playoff, with Zanotti and Stenson moving on to the par-four 17th for the second time. When Stenson attempted to drive the green and found water instead, his race had effectively been run, especially with his opponent finding the putting surface off the tee. After a penalty drop and a couple of poor chip shots, Stenson, the world No2, bowed to the inevitable and conceded the match and the title. Twice the Swede had putts for victory, but it was not to be.
“I feel very happy,” Zanotti said. “This is a moment I’ve been waiting for a long time. It’s huge to think I’m the first player from Paraguay to win on the European Tour.”
One player who could not believe his luck was Heath, the winner of the BMW i8: “I am blown away, virtually speechless,” the Englishman said. “The prize more than triples the highest cheque I’ve ever made. This is my fifteenth hole in one – the second in professional tournament play – but the others pale into insignificance by comparison. My last one was in Colombia three years ago and I didn’t even get a pat on the back.”
Germany’s Maximilian Röhrig, the only amateur to make the cut, put the finishing touches to a highly respectable performance with a round of 70 that moved him alongside Marcel Siem, his countryman, on seven under par, and brought him the award for lowest amateur.