Sebastian Soderberg won the European Masters courtesy of a birdie at the first extra hole in a five-man play-off at Crans-sur-Sierre. The 28-year-old Swede came into his 50th outing on the European Tour with his playing rights for 2020 under threat as he was down in 120th place in the Race to Dubai standings. Soderberg started the day four shots off the lead and, after a dropping a shot at the first, he picked up a birdie at the seventh.
A run of five successive birdies from the tenth thrust him to the top of the leaderboard, but a second bogey of his round at the 17th saw him finish on a four-under-par 66. Rory McIlroy, overnight-leader Andres Romero, Lorenzo Gagli and Kalle Samooja all joined him on 14 under for the tournament to take it to a play-off. And it was Soderberg who kept his cool to birdie the play-off hole on the 18th to claim the victory.
“I was shaking the last few holes in the round,” said Soderberg to the European Tour website. “I calmed down a little bit for the play-off. I’m very proud of myself to be able to play good when I’m shaking. “I felt like I had nothing to lose and just played as aggressive as I could. I was way more calm down the play-off than I was in my last few holes out there in the fourth round.
“I was just trying to take one shot at a time and my brother told me most likely my card was secured when we’d finished, which was nice. I had nothing to lose at all and it’s going to change a lot going forward.” It is the second time that world number two McIlroy has lost in a play-off at the European Masters after Jeff Lucquin defeated him in 2008 when both players finished on 13 under.