Thongchai Jaidee is the first winner of the Porsche European Open in Bad Griesbach. Top of the leaderboard at the start of the day, the Thai kept his nerves in the neck-and-neck race on Sunday to card a round of 67 and finish 17 under par and one shot better than Englishman Graeme Storm. Bernhard Maier, Porsche AG Board Member Sales and Marketing, presented the winner’s trophy to the delighted victor who will be taking home 333,330 euro prize money after securing his first win on this year’s European Tour. “Apart from the weather, I love Germany,” said Jaidee who went on to thank his German coach Peter Wolfenstetter. The Bavarian has been working with the Thai for the last 12 years and was at his side all week. “I was nevertheless very nervous before the final putt,” admitted the winner.
Storm missed out on a possible play-off by bogeying the 17th
Runner-up Storm also went round the last 18 holes in 67 but missed out on a possible play-off by bogeying the 17th. In third place was the Swede Pelle Edberg who ended the tournament on 14 under par after shooting a 69. Australian Scott Hend, whose round of 65 was the day’s best, moved up to fourth (-13). After recording a 70 on Sunday, Ryder Cup winner Jamie Donaldson (Wales) (-12) was one place back in joint fifth along with, amongst others, Englishman Ross Fisher who had to be content with a par 71 final round.
The leading German was yet again the golf legend Bernhard Langer. On the final day, as so often in his career, he showed his consistency and ended the tournament in joint 24th on eight under par after posting a 69. “I really enjoyed myself here,” said Langer, “And looking at the spectators, they too. They seemed to like watching a 58-year old holding his own with the youngsters. Congratulations to everybody behind this tournament.”
Over 25,000 spectators on four days
A 7,200 crowd followed the action around the course on Sunday. Over the four days of the tournament, over 25,000 spectators came along to the Beckenbauer Golf Course, savoured both the top class golf served up by the professionals and the supporting programme of events in the Public Village. “I’m thrilled with the way the week has gone,” said Tournament Director Dominik Senn from the Swiss organisers, 4Sports & Entertainment AG. “It’s very clear that the tournament has basically lived from the fantastic player field here and the main sponsor.”
After its first appearance on the professional golf stage, Porsche feels it has been vindicated in its decision to become involved in the event: “We’re extremely pleased with the premiere of the Porsche European Open,” said Bernhard Maier when summing up. “Golf of the highest class was on show. Porsche attracted a lot of attention and showcased itself as a likeable brand through the attractive supporting programme of activities. The resonance amongst visitors and customers was sensational.”
Many visitors took advantage of the opportunity to inform themselves about the current Porsche models on display or secure themselves a souvenir from the Porsche Driver’s Selection. Porsche customers also enjoyed taking a break in the pleasant atmosphere of the Porsche Owners’ Lounge. Many people took advantage of Porsche Drive’s offer to go for a test drive in the surrounding area – not only visitors but golfers too. Bernhard Maier: “What’s es-pecially pleasing is the many positive comments made about the tournament in general by the players– and naturally their enthusiasm for our products.”
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, one of the top Asian players on the European Tour, and the Swede Pelle Edberg will be the last pairing to tee off on the final day of the Porsche European Open. The two will start their rounds at 12.45 on Sunday. After carding an excellent 64 to leave him 13 under for the tournament, Jaidee has now taken a one shot lead. Sharing second place on 12 under are Pelle Edberg and the two Englishmen Ross Fisher and Graeme Storm. Behind them in fifth are the Finn Mikko Ilonen, Sweden’s Magnus A. Carlsson and Jamie Donaldson from Wales (-11). The two Germans Maximilian Kieffer and Bernhard Langer are down the 66-player field on 6 under.
The feared third day of play really did live up to its name of “moving day” – so much so that the leaderboard at the two million dollar event around the Beckenbauer Golf Course has taken on a totally different complexion.
Lasse Jensen hits hole-in-one
The biggest stir of the day which attracted 5,900 spectators was however caused by Lasse Jensen when he aced the second hole – a par 3 – at 9 o’clock in the morning. It was the Dane’s sixth career hole-in-one. His bad luck – on the 17th there is a special prize at stake for an ace, namely a Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. The main sponsor nevertheless wanted to recognise the Dane’s exceptional achievement and presented Jensen with a Porsche Bike RX, a Porsche on two wheels. “It’s really nice of Porsche,” said the grateful Jensen who has not given up on his big dream. “I’ve still got one more chance on the 17th,” he continued, “I’ll bag the 911, put the bike in the back and drive home to Copenhagen.”
Consistency as a recipe for success: two rounds of 66 and a total of ten under par have left the South African Charl Schwartzl at the top of the leaderboard at the Porsche European Open in Bad Griesbach. Ahead of the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday, he is sharing the lead with the two Englishmen Graeme Storm, who today shot a 67, and Ross Fisher, whose round of 65 was the day’s best along with the South Korean Byeong Hun An. The best German is Florian Fritsch (-7) followed by Maximilian Kieffer (-6) who, watched on by a 6,700 crowd, made the cut for the 22nd time in succession – currently the longest cut streak on the European Tour. Bernhard Langer (-5) will also be teeing off over the weekend in Bad Griesbach as will the Northern Irish Major winner Graeme McDowell (-4), the Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez (-6) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson (-7) who sealed the Ryder Cup win for the European team last year.
Practice sessions on the greens are paying off
Charl Schwartzel is increasingly getting to grips with the par 71 Beckenbauer Golf Course. Last week’s practice sessions on the greens are paying off. “The putting is getting better. My technique is still a little shaky but self-confidence is vital,” said the South African who goes into the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday with high hopes. Another player looking forward to the weekend is Florian Fritsch. “I’m overjoyed. Standing on the tee, the course doesn’t really give me much confidence. But I’m intent on playing aggressively here and it’s worked well now over the 36 holes,” said the Munich-born player who, due to his fear of flying, is unable to play many of the important Tour events.
Bernhard Langer played the course far better on day two than his playing partners. Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and the US pro Hunter Mahan were unable to match their performances on Thursday and surprisingly missed the cut. Langer went round in even par and was satisfied. “Having played so well on Thursday, I’m still within striking distance of the leaders.” And that in the mind of countryman Maximilian Kieffer is the most important thing. “At your home tournament, you want to be in action over the weekend,” said the German. “I’m in a good position going into the last two rounds.”
After posting rounds of 64 for the first 18 holes, Frenchman Benjamin Hebert and Bernd Wiesberger (Austria) are the joint leaders of the Porsche European Open in Bad Griesbach. The German golfing legend Bernhard Langer was highly impressive on the opening day of the two million euro tournament when completing the course in five under par. It has left him in seventh place along with, amongst others, the American Hunter Mahan, South African Charl Schwartzel and fellow German Florian Fritsch. The Spanish crowd favourite Miguel Ángel Jiménez was also visibly pleased after his round of 67. The former US Open winner Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland shone with five birdies but ruined a better score with a double bogey on the penultimate hole.
Goose bumps-atmosphere in Bad Griesbach
5,800 spectators watched on in good weather conditions and enjoyed a very competitive first day of play. After the opening round on the par 71 Beckenbauer Golf Course, the top 56 golfers are within only four shots of each other. “I’m very pleased with the way I’ve started the tournament,” said Wiesberger when looking back on a bogey-free round. And the American Hunter Mahan is gradually enjoying his debut in Germany more and more – and is more than happy with his playing partner. “It was great playing with the German golf legend. He’s a fantastic competitor and never enters a competition if he doesn’t think he has a chance of winning.”
And Langer really is in the running. “31 shots for the inward nine is a top score,” said the delighted Langer – and thanked the crowd, “I had goose bumps when teeing off at the first in front of a couple of thousand spectators. And we were spurred on and supported by an enormous crowd all the way round the course.”
911 Carrera Cabriolet: fuel consumption combined 8.5-7.5 l/100 km, CO₂ emissions 195-172 g/km