sport

Zanotti wins four-way play-off

Fabrizio Zanotti won a play-off at the fifth extra hole to score a thrilling victory at the BMW International Open in Germany.

The 31-year-old became the first Paraguayan to win on the European Tour after edging out world No 2 Henrik Stenson, Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Frenchman Gregory Havret in a remarkable finish at Gut Larchenhof in Cologne after all had finished at 19-under in regulation time.

Zanotti had made the play-off by shooting his second successive seven-under 65 and was almost eliminated straight away but holed a brave 15 foot putt for par to stay alive.

Havret perished when the quartet played the 18th for a second time, his three rivals making excellent birdies from 15 feet (Stenson), eight feet (Zanotti) and five feet (Cabrera-Bello).

At the third extra hole - the short par four 17th - the remaining trio all drove the green and racked up two-putt birdies. Cabrera-Bello, who had produced an astonishing birdie-eagle-birdie finish to make the play-off, had the best chance to close out victory but missed his 12 foot birdie try, his task being made harder by a sudden burst of wind and rain.

Back they went to the par four 18th and Cabrera-Bello's hopes ended when, from a tough lie, he pulled his approach into water and made bogey five.

Stenson looked set to make a five too after driving into thick rough but produced a wonderful pitch shot to two feet to make his par and match Zanotti, who missed a 15 footer to seal the deal.

Now a straight head-to-head between Stenson and Zanotti, it was the Swede who buckled as he put his tee-shot into water at 17 and couldn't save par.

With Zanotti close to the pin in two, Stenson conceded and, finally, Zanotti was champion.

Stenson was left to reflect on the 72nd hole of regulation play when his birdie putt to win outright hung on the lip and also the first extra hole when he missed a 12 footer for a winning birdie.

Zanotti had started the tournament with a lacklustre 72 before securing his spot on the weekend with a five-under 67.

He pressed the accelerator with a 65 on Saturday and matched that on Sunday with birdies at 2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15.

The delighted Paraguayan said: "I tried to play shot-by-shot in the play-off. I'm just very happy. I've really been playing very good the last few weeks (14th in Irish Open, fifth at Lyoness Open on his last two starts) so I knew today that if I make a good round I would have a good chance.

"Maybe today was my day."

One shot back

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee (65), England's Simon Dyson (66) and Wales' Jamie Donaldson (67) all finished just one shot out of the play-off despite shooting strong final rounds to finish at 18-under.

On a bunched leaderboard, four players ended two back while no less than 10 shared tied 12th on 16-under.

The quartet on 17-under included three-shot overnight leader Pablo Larrazabal, who could only find two birdies in a frustrating final round which also included bogeys at 10 and 14. "The game was there but i couldnt make a putt," he tweeted later.

Shot of the day belonged to England's James Heath, who won a BMW electric I8 by scoring a hole-in-one on the par three 16th. He aced the hole with a seven-iron from 171 yards.