Jacquelin wins historic playoff in Spain
Valencia, Spain (Sports Network) - Raphael Jacquelin drained a 5-foot birdie putt on the record-tying ninth playoff hole to capture the Open de Espana title on Sunday.
Jacquelin, Maximilian Kieffer and Felipe Aguilar all finished 72 holes at 5- under 283, necessitating a playoff at Parador de El Saler.
"That is very tiring by I am really, really happy," Jacquelin said of the playoff, which lasted over two hours.
On the third extra hole, Jacquelin appeared to have the victory wrapped up when he dropped his second shot within three feet, but Kieffer, hitting from the front, right edge, died a long, bending birdie roll into the cup. Aguilar made par on the hole and was eliminated.
On the next three holes, Jacquelin had roughly a 15-foot birdie putt for the win, but he came up inches short each time, allowing Kieffer to stay alive.
Then it was onto the seventh playoff hole, where Jacquelin sent his drive far right on No. 18 and went into a greenside bunker with his second.
Kieffer, meanwhile, dropped his second shot within 10 feet, but he missed his birdie putt and the marathon continued.
Jacquelin again avoided victory with a missed 7-footer on the next hole, but he ended the marathon on the ninth when he found the fairway, dropped his approach within five feet, and drained the birdie effort after Kieffer missed his tricky birdie putt from over 20 feet.
"I could not make any putts (in the playoff) but the last one dropped, which means a lot for me and my family," continued Jacquelin.
The nine-hole battle matched the longest playoff in European Tour history, tying the mark set at the 1989 KLM Open, when Jose Maria Olazabal outlasted Roger Chapman and Ronan Rafferty.
Marc Warren entered the final round with a 2-stroke lead and he still held that advantage entering No. 14, where he missed a 5-foot par putt and dropped to 6-under -- one stroke clear of Aguilar.
Another bogey on the 15th had Warren into a tie with Aguilar and Kieffer, but the overnight leader quickly jumped back on top when his chip from a greenside bunker on No. 16 one-hopped into the hole for birdie.
The lead was brief, however, as Warren promptly 3-putted on the 17th to fall to 5-under alongside Aguilar, Kieffer and Jacquelin, who birdied the last to draw even with the co-leaders.
The slide continued for Warren, as another 3-putt on the last dropped him into a tie for fourth at 4-under, leaving Aguilar, Kieffer and Jacquelin on the course for a playoff.
Magnus A. Carlsson (71), Paul Waring (73) and David Horsey (73) also finished at minus-4, while Matteo DelPodio (70), Peter Uihlein (73), Espen Kofstad (72) and Eddie Pepperell (72) tied for eighth at 3-under.
Sergio Garcia (71) highlighted a group of four knotted in 12th place at minus-2.
Jacquelin carded a 71 in the final round, while Kieffer and Aguilar shot 71 and 70, respectively.
It marks the fourth career European Tour win for Jacquelin and the Frenchman's first since the 2011 Sicilian Open.
NOTES: Jacquelin's other European Tour victories came at the 2005 Open de Madrid and the 2007 Asian Open ... Kieffer, a European Tour rookie, was seeking his first win on the circuit ... Aguilar was seeking his second European Tour victory ... Warren was trying for his third career win on the European Tour, and first since the 2007 Open de Espana ... This was the fourth time that Parador de El Saler hosted the tournament, but the first since 2001.
04/21 14:27:58 ET