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'Don't give up' win for Campbell in Morocco

Updated: Jul 8

Ben Campbell Asian Tour golf
Ben Campbell won his second Asian Tour event at the International Series Morocco. PHOTO: ASIAN TOUR

New Zealand golfer Ben Campbell has snatched a surprise victory in a sensational finish on the Asian Tour.

Campbell stunned American John Catlin at the very end of the US$2 million International Series Morocco tournament on the Red Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam on Sunday (Monday NZ Time).


Campbell holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, the par-five 18th, to win, having been three shots behind playing-partner Catlin with two holes to play.

The 32-year-old shot a two-under 71, helped by an eagle on the par-four 17th and a birdie on the 18th to finish his round, to tie Catlin at 15-under. American Caleb Surratt and Spaniard Eugenio Chacarra finished tied for third, three behind.

Campbell started the final day one behind Catlin – the leader after each of the first three days and chasing win No 3 of the season – and looked to be just falling short.

He made two great up and downs for par on the 15th and 16th, before holing a 35-foot putt for eagle on the penultimate hole.

On the 18th, both faced 10-foot birdie putts, with Campbell holing his first before Catlin, normally so clinical, just missed his attempt.

“That was a great finish,” said Campbell. “You know I didn’t have my best out there today and I just kept saying to Mike (his caddie), I’ve just got to find something and just stay patient.

"And yeah, like I went flag-hunting on 16 and leaked it right, and hit a great bunker shot there. I said to Mike, if I can find a birdie eagle, you never know. So, I did that, and then to hole a putt like that in the play-off, it’s always good.”

It is his second success on the Asian Tour, having won the Hong Kong Open, another event on The International Series calendar, at the end of last year after a similarly last-gasp finish when he nailed a 15-foot birdie to win by one.

The win is another reward for a player dogged by injury through his career.

Ben Campbell Asian Tour golf
Ben Campbell came from three back with two holes to play to win on the first playoff hole. PHOTO: ASIAN TOUR

“I just think it’s been a tough run, and I didn’t give up then and I’m not going to give up now. I just kept saying to Mike, just don’t give up out here.

"I’ve got to find something in my swing. I was feeling great on the range and lost it, sort of, on the course. But yeah, just said to him and I just sort of keep saying to myself, don’t give up.”

Campbell's countryman Kazuma Kobori, who led with Catlin after 18 holes, dropped nine places on the final day to a tie for 28th at four-under, carding a one-over 71 that included two birdies and three bogeys.

Catlin has the consolation of taking over from Mexican Carlos Ortiz at the top of The International Series rankings, while he consolidated his lead on the Asian Tour Order of Merit (OOM).

Campbell is now second on The International Series Rankings and third on the Asian Tour OOM.

The Asian Tour takes a short break now before heading to the International Series England at Foxhills Country Club and Resort, from August 8-11. It will be the ninth event of the season on the Asian Tour and fourth leg of The International Series.

Meanwhile, at the DP World Tour's BMW International Open in Munich, Germany, Kiwi No 1 Ryan Fox climbed 11 places into a tie for 17th after the final round on Sunday (Monday NZT).

Fox fired a three-under 69 at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried, featuring six birdies and three bogeys, to finish at nine-under overall, nine strokes behind the winner, Scotland's Ewen Ferguson.

Sam Jones, at two-under, missed the cut by one shot, while Daniel Hillier had an off week, finishing at three-over.


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