25 Jun 2012
Australia's Marcus Fraser fell agonisingly short of another European Tour victory after losing to England's Danny Willett in a tense play-off at the BMW International Open in Cologne, Germany.
Weather conditions in Cologne were wet and windy for the final round, but there was nothing dull about the golf on a compelling day at Gut Lärchenhof.
It took Englishman Willett four holes to beat Fraser on the course's 18th hole after a final round 73 left him level with the Australian.
After 19 top-ten finishes, it was Willett's first European Tour title.
“It’s amazing,” Willett said. “It was a tough day - it was brutal with the wind whipping and it was raining."
“Marcus had a great round today and I hung in there nicely. Hopefully I gave people a good show."
“This week has been strange, I’ve been working really hard with support from my family and my girlfriend. I’ve had some ups and downs in the last 18 months as everyone knows but I’m injury free now and back to playing well and I’d like to thank everyone back home for supporting me.
“I’ll keep working hard and hopefully we can do it again.”
Fraser moved into the lead with a birdie at the 16th but the two-time European Tour winner found trouble at the last and did well to rescue a bogey and set the clubhouse target at 11 under.
Willett needed two pars to force a play-off at that stage, and that appeared unlikely when he drove down the right at the 18th and the ball bounced off a cart path and behind a tree.
A remarkable long hooked iron onto the green was a spectacular recovery for Willett and although he left his first putt from 25 feet well short, he converted a four footer for par to force the championship to extra holes.
Fraser was 15 feet away in three at the first extra hole but made it to force another trip down the 18th.
When Willett chipped to five feet and Fraser left his effort 20 feet short and missed the par putt it looked like game over, but Willett’s putt somehow stayed up, and so the players returned to the tee.
Both players converted five footers at the third time of asking, and on their fourth visit Willett almost ran a flop from the rough in for birdie and Fraser’s 25 foot putt lipped out.
But Fraser missed his return from three feet, leaving Willett to tap in for victory.
“This is my fourth year on Tour now,” added Willett. “I've had a lot of good finishes, been in contention a couple of times, obviously with Kaymer at the Dunhill a few years back. To polish it off, it feels good."