Jacquelin wins Asian Open

Updated: 2007-04-22 17:26
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Raphael Jacquelin of France led from start to finish to a win the Asian Open by two strokes Sunday for his second European Tour victory.

Jacquelin shot a one-over-par 73 in the storm-affected final-round to finish at ten-under for the tournament, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours. The win comes as some redemption for last week's China Open, also in Shanghai, where Jacquelin seized the lead after the second round only to see it slip away.

Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen finished second at eight-under after also shooting a 73, while Australian Scott Hend (75) and Scotland's Simon Yates (74) were another shot back.

"It is a fantastic moment," said Jacquelin, whose maiden tour victory came at the 2005 Open de Madrid in Spain after 238 tour starts. "When you are in a position to win it is always difficult to finish but to be a winner you have to finish."

Despite the round's start being moved up to 6:30 a.m. local time to avoid a forecast thunderstorm, players still battled rain and fierce winds on the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club's reconfigured 6,697-meter (7,326-yard) course.

Jacquelin was fortunate to start smartly before the wind and rain blew in, picking up three birdies on the front nine. With the changing weather playing havoc with his approaches, he conceded bogies on four of the last six holes.

"We had a lot of chances on the front nine and that is what I did," said Jacquelin event. "Then the wind picked up and the rain, and it was tough. My shots were not so good so I played for the good side of the green and try and save par."

Hend, who has been nursing a hand injury, drew within striking distance of Jacquelin on the back nine, but his approach on the par-three 14th was caught by the wind and plunked into the water, leaving him with a double bogey on the hole and effectively ending his charge.

"I hit some good shots and didn't make birdies when I could have and then when I made mistakes, I was penalized for it and made bogey," said Hend.

Still chasing his first win of the season, South African Ernie Els shot an even-par 72 to finish joint fifth at six-under, alongside compatriot Richard Sterne, who had the lowest round of the day at 69.

Els who won the tournament by 13 strokes in 2005, suffered from the patchy putting that had dogged his earlier rounds.

"I hit the ball from tee to green pretty well, but my putter let me down most of the week," Els said.

South Korea's Lee Sung (73), and last week's Asian Open champion Markus Brier of Austria (74), also finished at six-under.