Alexander Bjork carded a 7-under 65 on Sunday to capture his maiden European Tour title at the Volvo China Open.
The 27-year old Swede started the day one-shot back of co-leaders Matt Wallace and Adrian Otaegui, but quickly joined a group of six players tied at the top in Beijing. After turning in 33, Björk owned a one-shot lead for much of his back nine until a gain on the par-4 17th put him ahead by two strokes at 18-under par, two clear of Jorge Campillo (67) and Jordan Smith (64), who were in the clubhouse at 16 under.
Playing in the penultimate group, Bjork waited and watched the final hole of Otaegui, who bogeyed No. 17 to drop back to 16 under, along with playing partner Wallace.
After Otaegui carded a birdie to secure solo-second at 17 under, and Wallace made par to finish 16-under par alongside Smith and Campillo, the trophy was Bjork’s to lift.
“It’s tough to describe the emotions,” said Bjork, who extended Sweden’s run to 30 consecutive European Tour seasons with at least a win.
“I’m really happy and really proud of myself the way I played today, it’s probably one of the best rounds of golf I ever played, the best round in the situation.
“I made pretty much no mistakes today, I’m super happy. I’ve been striking the ball so well off the tee and also into the greens all week. It’s been so solid, it’s easy to play a round when the swing is there.
“It’s the final day and the pressure comes on and I still hit good shots on the way in.
“I had a really good feeling this morning, I was less nervous than I usually am before a big final round, I felt confident almost all the way. I guess it was meant to be today.”
Campillo was then third at 16 under alongside the English pair of Smith and Wallace.
Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard matched Smith’s low-round 64 to sit solo-sixth at 15 under, one-shot clear of native son Wu Ashun, Irishman Paul Dunne, and the Korean duo of Jinho Choi and Jeunghun Wang.
Bjork earned € 433,333 and 500,000 Race to Dubai Points, which, coupled with last week’s T3, moves him to No. 9 in the 2018 standings. He also picked up 32 Official World Golf Rankings points, and will jump into the top 100 for the first time in his career. He’s currently No. 112 and is expected to land somewhere between 75-80.
FINAL TOP 10
1. Alexander Bjork -18
2. Adrian Otaegui -17
3. Jordan Smith -16
3. Jorge Campillo -16
3. Matt Wallace -16
6. Lucas Bjerregaard -15
7. A-Shun Wu -14
7. Jeunghun Wang -14
7. Paul Dunne -14
7. Jin-ho Choi -14
Driving: 281.9 (42)
Fairways: 73.2% (15)
Greens: 72.2% (55)
Putting: 1.666 (6)
“I’m really happy and really proud of myself the way I played today, it’s probably one of the best rounds of golf I ever played.”
– Alexander Bjork