Michael Campbell falls to eighth in Hong Kong

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 22:25 18/11/2012
Michael Campbell
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FRUSTRATION: Michael Campbell couldn't hold his form together in the final round, fading to finish eighth.

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A day that began with high hopes ended in disappointment for Michael Campbell as he faded to eighth in the Hong Kong Open last night.

Campbell went into the final round on 10-under-par, sharing the lead in the co-sanctioned European Tour event with Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, before carding a two-over 72.

It left the New Zealander on an eight-under total of 272, tied with Spain's  Pablo Larrazabal, seven strokes off the pace at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Jimenez held on to win the US$2 million tournament after carding a final round of 65 to be 15-under, one shot clear of Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Campbell's final round began brightly when he birdied the first hole, but he reached the halfway point on even-par after two bogeys on his front nine.

As the leaders rattled off the birdies, Campbell couldn't make ground and ended his tournament with a double-bogey six on the 18th.

He put himself in contention with rounds of 67, 64 and 69 as he sought his first victory since 2005 when he won the US Open and the World Match Play Championship.

The Wellington product staged a welcome form reversal this year after some awful results in Europe. Last month the 43-year-old secured his best result in four years when he tied for third in the Portugal Masters and earned $220,000 in prizemoney.

Jimenez became the oldest player to record a European Tour victory, securing a hat-trick of Hong Kong titles at the age of 48 years and 318 days.

"Winning now, and becoming the oldest winner on the tour at 48, my goodness. Twenty-four years I've been on the tour, I've been around a long time," Jimenez said.

"But I still love it and that is fantastic, to love what you're doing, and enjoy yourself, keep fit, keep working myself a little bit and stretching a lot. And that's the main thing to do to keep the body to compete with the new guns."

Jimenez earned his 19th tour victory by making four straight birdies from the seventh hole in his third straight bogey-free round.

Jimenez is 284 days older than Irishman Des Smyth was when he won the 2001 Madeira Islands Open and his triumph comes a week after Italy's Matteo Manassero became the first teenager to claim a hat-trick of European Tour titles at the Singapore Open.

The European Tour also confirmed that John Daly will be facing a fine after a club-throwing incident on the second day of the event.

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Daly hurled his putter into the trees at the 11th green ahead of missing the cut after being continually bothered by fans using mobile phones and cameras.

Tournament director Mickael Ericsson said the tour will take those disturbances into account, but that Daly will still be fined.

"Yes, the circumstances regarding crowd manners and behavior will be considered, but when it all boils down there is still no excuse for throwing his putter," Ericsson said.

- Fairfax NZ and AP

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