Korhonen into Race to Dubai top 20 with China Open triumph

Mikko Korhonen took a giant step towards a second appearance at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after surging into the top 20 of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai after superbly holding his nerve to defeat Benjamin Hebert in a play-off at the Volvo China Open to secure his second European Tour title.

The Finn, who won his first piece of professional silverware at last year’s Shot Clock Masters, started the final round three strokes behind overnight leader Hebert but got himself into the play-off with an outstanding six under par 66 at Genzon Golf Club. In fact the 38 year old held a one shot lead walking up the 18th but Hebert prevented him from winning in regulation after expertly holing a birdie putt to leave both men on 20 under par and force the play-off. Korhonen sunk a birdie putt of his own from 11 feet on the first trip back up the 18th to seal the victory and get his hands on the golden jacket after Hebert could only make par.

“It’s an amazing feeling to get the win,” said Korhonen, who collects 585 Race to Dubai points to surge from 98th to 17th on the Race to Dubai Rankings. “I don’t know how I did it but it’s probably the putter that was my winning formula this week. I made lots of putts from outside 15-20 feet this week.

“Winning a golf tournament is never easy. It was a battle all day as everyone was making putts and I had to stay patient and do the same. It’s great to have this second win in the bag and I’m delighted.”

Hebert’s wait for a maiden European Tour title goes on after failing to convert his three-shot lead into victory. The Frenchman picks up 389 Race to Dubai points which sees him rise from 89th to 25th on the Race to Dubai Rankings with a season tally of 587.4 points.

Meanwhile, Jorge Campillo came close to back-to-back victories on the European Tour after finishing one back to secure third place. The Spaniard, who won for the first time in 229 starts last week at the Trophée Hassan II, held a two shot lead on the 13th but failed to take advantage after playing his last six holes at one over par. Despite missing out on the title, the 32 year old moves up to second from sixth on the Race to Dubai after receiving 218 points.

“It was disappointing; I finished as a champion last week, but I didn’t this week. I had the tournament in my hands but missed a few shots in the middle of my round which cost me the tournament. Mikko played unbelievable golf today and it was just a shame I couldn’t join the play-off. Hopefully, I can hit it better with my driver next time.” – Jorge Campillo

Home favourite Li Haotong finished three further back to seal fourth and 175 Race to Dubai points. The 2018 Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner jumps from 14th to eighth with a season total of 1037.points.

David Lipsky strengthened his grip on the top ten of the Race to Dubai after finishing tied fifth with Jordan Smith, Ashun Wu, Romain Langasque and Mike Lorenzo-Vera. The American jumps up two places from ninth to seventh on 1077.2 points.

The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 21-24 where US$3 million will be up for grabs for the winner, making it the richest prize in world tournament golf.

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