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Peter Mikael Hedblom became the second Swede to emerge as the Malaysian Open champion after finishing the final round with a total score of eight-under 280 at the Saujana Golf and Country Club in Subang, here.

The first Swedish golfer to have won the championship was Joakim Haeggman in 1994 at the Royal Selangor Club who scored a four-day total of nine-under 279.

Hedblom recieved the prestigous trophy from Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and was US$215,000 richer for his feat.

On the final round, Hedblom carded three birdies and a bogey on his inward nine while on the outward nine, he sank another three birdies and dropped a bogey on the 18th hole, for a final round score of four-under par 68.

“It was great to win this championship although I was seven strokes behind after Round 3. I just played my game and not even looked at the scoreboard, until some spectators told me that I was the leader today,” said Hedblom.

“It was unbelieveable. When you haven’t won for that long, you will question yourself whether you can win again. I knew that I had the game to win but down the stretch you have to play good.

“My caddie helped me a lot today. We had a nice calm walk around the golf course and I didn’t feel the pressure until I was going to hole that last putt,” added Hedblom, who had waited for 11 years for his second win.

His first European Tour win was the Morrocan Open in 1996.

Following Hedblom with a one-stroke difference was Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin, who had the final round score of five-under 67. He was US$143,330 richer for his feat.

“It was a very good round but the course was very difficult. You have to hit it good and hit the ball on the fairway. I just missed the fairway on the 18th and tried to lay up but it ended in the rough.

“Maybe a five at the last would have given me a win. But things weren’t enough today,” said Lucquin.

Two strokes adrift were Spain’s Ignacio Garrido and England’s Simon Dyson.

“Nothing went for me all week but never mind. I think luck wasn’t with me. It just didn’t seem to happen well,” said Dyson, who will defend next week’s Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open title.

Dyson was among those tied for the lead at one stage of the final round but dumped his approach into water at the par five 13th for a bogey for the second straight day to dent his hopes.

Asia’s best performers were Thai duo Prom Meesawat and teenager Chinarat Phadungsil, signing off with rounds of 73 and 70 respectively for a share of seventh place on 284.

However, Welshman Kyron Sullivan stole the limelight as he registered a hole-in-one at the par-three second hole.

It was the ninth hole-in-one registered in the Malaysian Open and the sixth at Saujana Golf and Country Club itself, since 1999 when the event was first co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.

The battle for the Maybank Malaysian Open crown was a touch-and-go affair.

As at one stage, five players tied for the lead on yet another steamy day at Saujana’s Palm course and with seven other players within two shots off the pace.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Open Champion, Airil Rizman Zahari emerged as Malaysia’s best golfer at the Championship. He scored one over par 289 to share the 34th placing together with seven others.

In the final round today, he scored one-under 71.

— BERNAMA