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Garcia wins dramatic Ho Tram Open playoff

The inaugural Ho Tram Open finished yesterday with as much drama as when the first players teed off four days ago.

The windswept first and second days brought a lot of drama, while the final day ended with a four-way playoff on the 18th hole between Sergio Garcia, Himmat Rai, Thaworn Wiratchant and Lin Wen-tang who all finished at 14-under par.

Up and down: Sergio Garcia blasts a shot out of the bunker to within 15 feet on the second playoff hole
Up and down: Sergio Garcia blasts a shot out of the bunker to within 15 feet on the second playoff hole

The first playoff hole ended when Garcia dropped in a bomb putt from 35 feet and Rai dropped his birdie putt in right on top of it.

The second playoff hole continued the drama between Garcia and Rai when Rai pulled his drive into the bushes on the left side of the fairway, almost in the same position Garcia was in during the previous day Punching out of the bush, Rai hit a superb third shot to the green.

Garcia had bombed his drive 350 yards down the fairway to catch the left side bunker. His approach shot found the green and had a comfortable two-putt for the win after Rai’s desperation putt went past the hole.

Garcia was blazing on the first nine holes posting six birdies and threatened to run away with the event, until a bogey on the 10th hole and a double bogey on 17th brought him back to the field.

Thomas Bjorn, who also made a run at the lead but eventually fell by the wayside to finish at 11-under par, commented on the experience after the round, “It’s been phenomenal, it’s been such a great week, the hospitality, the golf course and the hotel. It’s been such a brilliant week. They’ve done a fantastic job for a new event, it’s been a great pleasure to be here this week and certainly a place I would like to come back here again.?”

Serging to victory: Sergio Garcia with the Ho Tram Open trophy.

Another story broke during the final round when The Bluffs and Viet Nam Golf Association announced they would host the Viet Nam Junior Championships here in August and it would be welcome to all outstanding junior players in the Asia-Pacific area.

Ben Styles, Bluff’s Vice President of Golf and Residential Development, said, “The most important thing to us this week was creating a platform for golf in Viet Nam that could be showcased around the world.

“We feel with the feedback we have had to date that we have excelled past our expectations.

“Consulting with Robert Rock and Mr Hao (VGA), one of the next steps is to have the Junior Championships of 2016 right here at Ho Tram where they can test their game against how the professionals went this week. So we are very honoured to announce that we will be the host venue for the Viet Nam Junior Championships in 2016. Our team this week will take it every bit as seriously as this week and create the course in as best condition as we can.

“We have asked Robert Rock, our ambassador, if he would give us the same guidance over the Junior Championships as he has done for this event and he has accepted.”

As the Inaugural Ho Tram Open champion Sergio Garcia will return next year to defend his title and we can all look forward to another amazing experience