Rumford breaks victory drought in Korea

It’s been a long time between drinks for Brett Rumford but the Western Australian survived a disastrous finish to win the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea, with a magnificent eagle on the first playoff hole against compatriot Marcus Fraser and Scotland’s Peter Whiteford.

Victory for 35-year-old Rumford was his 4th on the European Tour and broke a personal victory drought dating back six years.

Breet Rumford Brett Rumford holds the 2013 Ballantine’s Championship trophy (Credit: Getty Images)

Rumford’s win is also the first by an Australian on the European Tour since Matthew Zions’ Saint-Omer Open title in 2011.

Rumford made a fast start on the final day, making the turn in 30 strokes and taking a two stroke lead into the final two holes.

However, an errant drive on the 17th led to a double bogey after he was forced to take penalty drop from a bush.

Rumford was also in trouble off the tee on the 18th and needed to hole an eight-foot putt to save par and finish the tournament at 11-under.

When Fraser also parred the last for 11-under, Whiteford chipped to five feet on the last but missed his birdie putt for the outright win to force extra holes.

On their return to the 18th tee, Rumford drove perfectly and hit a brilliant approach to four feet for eagle and the win.

Later, Rumford credited the quick phone call he made to his coach Pete Cowan before the playoff for quickly straightening him out.

“A lot of thanks go to Pete,” said Rumford. “I battled with my driver constantly and I guess that’s what keeps me out of most golf tournaments.”

“I left a few drives right – it wasn’t just the last two drives, it was the whole back nine.”

“I was feeling stuck and a little bit trapped. I had a quick word with Pete and hit a five or six balls off the first tee and it obviously did the trick.”

Ironically, it was Rumford who finished second behind Fraser when he won the Ballantine’s Championship by four strokes in 2010.

“It was mixed emotions coming home and I’m really lost for words at the moment but there are a lot of people I need to thank, starting with my wife Sally,” said Rumford, as he prepared to take home the €367,500 winner’s cheque the day before her birthday.

“It’s been pretty hard golf-wise and raising twins is not easy; she’s an amazing lady and she’s a great support to me and that’s why I’m standing here today.”

South Australian Wade Ormsby, a recent winner on the Asian Tour, continued his good form by finishing at 5-under alongside fellow Australian Kieran Pratt in a tie for 17th place.