Sebastian Soderberg shot up the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Rankings after securing a maiden victory at the Omega European Masters following an enthralling final day battle which culminated in a five-man play-off in Switzerland.
The Swede, who graduated from European Challenge Tour last season, started the day four shots off the lead and remained there at the turn before reeling off five consecutive birdies to surge to the summit of the leaderboard. A three-putt on 17 dropped him back into the play-off along with two-time DP World Tour Championship winner Rory McIlroy, Lorenzo Gagli, Andres Romero and Kalle Samooja as the tournament went to extra holes for the sixth time in seven years. The 28-year-old got his hands on the trophy on the first trip back up the last after holing a ten-foot birdie putt while McIlroy and Samooja missed from close range.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Soderberg, who leapfrogs from 120th to 47th in the Race to Dubai with a season tally of 870.9 points. “I’ve always dreamt of playing on the European Tour, and to win in this way is great. I was in the lead, lost it, then went into the play-off which included Rory McIlroy.
“I was more nervous in the beginning than I was towards the back nine. I went on a good run and the ball kept going in. Just playing with Rory, so many people around, playing with a guy like that adds heat to it right away.
“I proved to myself that I can play out here. I didn’t really know that I was ready to win, I had a terrible start to the season and I felt like I was just trying to make my way into the top 110 and keep my card for next year. It’s just a surreal way to do it.”
World Number Two Rory McIlroy edged closer to securing a spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after picking up 232.5 points with his share of second place to move up to 31st from 46th in the Rankings.
Meanwhile, Samooja and Gagli’s runner-up finish secured both some much-needed Race to Dubai points as they aim to move up the Rankings in order to gain eligibility for the final three big money Rolex Series events of the season in November, culminating in the Dubai showpiece. Samooja jumps up to 71st from 113th while Gagli also breaks into the top 100 after moving up to 86th from 138th.
Adri Arnaus and Mike Lorenzo-Vera finished a shot further back in tied sixth at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club. Spaniard Arnaus, who won the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final last year, moves up to 25th from 31st while Lorenzo-Vera climbs to 28th from 32nd.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8 million 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 first prize in world tournament golf.