Padraig Harrington’s search for title number 15 will go on a little longer as he came up three shots short of the winning mark at the KLM Open.
Padraig Harrington / Image from Getty Images
The three-time Major Champion, whose last victory came at the Portugal Masters in October of 2016, returned a three-under-par 68 to secure outright 5th spot at 13-under.
Harrington bogeyed the second but sandwiched a birdie on the sixth with huge putts on the fourth and seventh before dropping a shot on the ninth. The Dubliner then went birdie-bogey on the tenth and 11th before making further gains on the 15th and last to fall three shots shy of winner Wu Ashun.
Harrington collects a cheque worth € 76,320 as a healthy consolation prize to help get over another near-miss.
As for Chinaman Wu, he birdied the last to overcome Chris Wood in a thrilling final day battle and win his third European Tour title.
Ashun entered round four one shot behind Wood and after briefly edging ahead in the early stages, spent most of the day playing catch up at The Dutch before birdies on the 14th and 15th moved him level at 15-under.
A stunning second into the par five last set up the closing birdie in a 67 and with Wood making a par, Wu claimed his first win since the 2016 Lyoness Open powered by Sporthilfe Cashback Card.
Wood’s closing 69 left the Englishman one shot clear of Belgian Thomas Detry and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara, with three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington at 13 under.
Wu’s third win makes him the most successful Chinese player in European Tour history and represents an excellent return to form after he needed the Access List to keep his playing privileges last season.
“Unbelievable this week,” he said. “I am so happy, very happy today and thank you everyone.
“It was beautiful weather this week too and a lot of good golf played here and I like this golf course very much.
“We just fixed my swing at the beginning of the year and we still trust that we are going the right way. My coach and I were working very hard and he has flown to the Czech Republic and Denmark to help me so I think we are getting better and better so that’s why I think last week was top ten and then this week just win.”
Wood bogeyed the first after finding the sand to make it a four-way tie for the lead but Wu’s approach to the second was inside three feet and he was the solo leader.
A response was needed from the overnight leader and he produced one straight away, putting his second to the second to five feet for a bounceback birdie.
Wu had found his range and he hit an excellent tee-shot into the par three fourth and rolled home from 15 feet to get back in front.
Wood took advantage of the par five to sixth to get back level and when Wu hit his tee-shot right into thick rough on the seventh, Wood led again.
An approach to five feet at the tenth and an an excellent ten-foot right-to-lefter on the next put Wood three ahead but his lead slipped to one when he found the water to double-bogey the 12th.
He spun a wonderful approach to tap-in range on the 13th to get back to two ahead but Wu hit an excellent tee-shot into the par three 14th and an approach to four feet on the next to move into a share.
With the tee up 141 yards on the par five last, Wu hit a stunning second into the green for his closing gain and a three-putt from Wood meant the tile belonged to the 33 year old.
Detry had equalled the course record with a 63 on Saturday and he continued his weekend charge, making birdies on the third, sixth, 11th, 15th, 17th and last with a bogey on the ninth.
Tanihara – who also recorded a 63 in round three – dropped a shot on the fourth and while he regained it on the sixth, he then reeled off nine straight pars before birdieing the 16th and 18th.
Dane Søren Kjeldsen and England’s Eddie Pepperell both made a single bogey in rounds of 65 to sit at 12 under alongside Welshman Bradley Dredge who carded a 66 and Scot David Drysdale who recorded a 69.