Bernd Wiesberger captures Ballantine's Championship for first Euro Tour victory
Seoul, South Korea (April 29, 2012) - Bernd Wiesberger won his first European Tour title in fine style at the Ballantine’s Championship as the Austrian cruised to a five shot victory.
Five clear overnight after consecutive course-record rounds of 65, the 26 year old was coolness personified as he compiled a closing round of 68.
Twice a runner-up on The European Tour last season, there was never any danger of Wiesberger missing out this time as he played his final 59 holes without dropping a shot at Blackstone Golf Club.
Australian Marcus Fraser was first to try and challenge Wiesberger, trimming his advantage to four with a 30 foot birdie putt at the third.
But Wiesberger, a runner-up in Scotland and South Africa last season, responded with a pitch to six feet at the long fifth for a first gain of the day after opening with four consecutive pars.
Four further pars saw Wiesberger turn in 35 and still five clear, and he clocked up five further pars as Richie Ramsay came charging from the pack.
The Scot hit his tee shot to five feet at the 16th for his sixth birdie of the day to close the gap to three, but that was as close as anyone got to Wiesberger.
The two-time Challenge Tour winner responded with a glorious pitch at the par five 15th to eight feet, holed a 20 footer at the 16th and drained a 15 foot birdie putt at the last for good measure to finish with an 18 under par total.
“I just tried to enjoy it and I had the three best rounds of my life,” said Wiesberger. “I tried not to make bogeys and I did that pretty well, it was awesome.
“My game plan was to hit as many greens as possible and try to make putts, and they dropped in the end.
“I didn’t get nervous, I had three or four shots. There was a pretty shaky moment at 12 but I made a great chip and a putt for par, but I just tried to enjoy it the last three or four holes in.
“I fly home tonight, I’m pretty sure I’ll have a shot of Ballantine’s in the Emirates lounge. I'm going to bring back a couple of bottles of Ballantine's so they will be opened, I'm sure."
Ramsay birdied the last to finish second on 13 under after a 65, two ahead of Fraser and France’s first-round leader Victor Dubuisson.
“I'm really, really pleased with the round, it's been fantastic,” said former South African Open Champion Ramsay. “You never want to lose - being a golfer, we always want to be the one that wins - but Bernd has played fantastically well out there.
“Obviously the fact that he's a really nice guy - I played with him a few times on The Challenge Tour - and he's a top-class guy. If you're going to get beat by somebody, it might as well be Bernd because he's a good guy.
“Ballantine's has done a fantastic event here. The sponsorship has been brilliant, the tournament has been run fantastically well, and it's great to come here and obviously there's a lot of people out here today which makes it good to hit some nice shots.
“All in all it's been a great week and I felt that it had been coming and it's nice to just put a number on the board.”
Fraser, who won this event on Jeju Island in 2010, played some beautiful golf from tee to green but, as in his third round, struggled to get his putter going as he signed for a 70.
“I think I made just six birdies for the weekend,” said the 33 year old. “It’s frustrating - I had a lot of chances yesterday and a few chances today but didn't take them.
“I think I played the par fives in one under for the weekend. I’m going to finish seven shots behind, and with the par fives, that's the majority of it right there. To finish third in a European Tour event is never a bad thing, but it’s still frustrating.
“I said to Bernd: ‘get used to that because you're going to do that quite a bit’. He's as impressive a golfer as I've ever seen.
“If he keeps working on the right things and doing what he's doing, he's obviously got a great support team around him and he can go onto do whatever he wants.
“A guy that size and hits it that far and still putts unbelievably, you don't see that too often. He's got massive things ahead of him and I wish him all the best. He's an absolute gentleman on the course, it was great fun being out there and watching it.”