Soderberg holds nerve in play-off to win European Masters

Crans-sur-Sierre (Switzerland) (AFP) –

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Sebastien Soderberg sunk a birdie in the first extra hole of a five-man play-off featuring Rory McIlroy to win the European Masters on Sunday.

The Swede had begun the final round at Crans-Montana four shots off the pace, but after the turn surged into the lead with five birdies in a row.

A three-putt on the 17th dropped him into the play-off at 14-under with McIlroy, Lorenzo Gagli, Andres Romero and Kalle Samooja.

And the 28-year-old sealed his first win in the event on the first trip back up the last hole, sinking a 10-footer as McIlroy and Samooja missed from close range.

It was the ideal way to celebrate his 50th European Tour event in the sixth play-off at Crans-Montana in the past seven years.

"I calmed down a little bit for the play-off. I'm very proud of myself to be able to play good when I'm shaking," Soderberg told europeantour.com.

"I felt like I had nothing to lose and just played as aggressive as I could. I was way more calm down the play-off than I was in my last few holes out there in the fourth round.

"I was just trying to take one shot at a time and my brother told me most likely my card was secured when we'd finished, which was nice. I had nothing to lose at all and it's going to change a lot going forward."

Soderberg came through the Qualifying School in 2016 and the European Challenge Tour last season.

He sat 120th on the Race to Dubai coming into this week after securing a top five finish on home soil at last week's Scandinavian Invitation.