<
>

Fernandez-Castano wins Asian Open in playoff

SHANGHAI, China -- Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano tapped in a short birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Henrik Stenson and win the Asian Open.

The win is the second in 10 months for the 25-year-old Spaniard, who went pro in 2004 and was the 2005 PGA European Tour rookie of the year.

"I played my typical Spanish golf and it worked," said
Fernandez-Castano, who shot a 2-under-par 70 in the final round,
using two crucial birdies in a bogey-free round at the Tomson
Shanghai Pudong Golf Club.

Stenson set the pace after the first three rounds, but Fernandez-Castano took the lead on the 16th hole of the final round after chipping into from the sand, over a bunker and in for birdie.

Playing partner Stenson then made birdie on the 18th to even the score at 7-under-par 281 and force the playoff. Stenson had a final
round of 71.

Colin Montgomerie (68) of Scotland and Jose-Filipe Lima (71) of Portugal were tied for third at 6-under, followed by Mahal Pearce
of New Zealand (71) and Englishmen Simon Dyson (68) and Paul Casey
(71).

Stenson strung together three birdies starting on the sixth hole and held a commanding three-stroke lead until the ninth, where his second shot ricocheted off a tree, over his head and into the water. After taking his drop, his needed two more shots to get onto the green, then three-putted the hole for a triple-bogey eight.

"A lot of bad things happened at the same time," Stenson.

That wobble left him in a tussle with six other players, with the lead changing hands no less than four times on the back nine. Stenson regrouped immediately to add another birdie, then bogeyed 16 to finish at 71.

"I felt pretty happy to be in the playoff after everything that happened," said the Swede, who had held a one-stroke lead since
the opening round.

Runner-up at last week's China Open in Beijing, Fernandez-Castano was frequently wild off the tee but pulled off big saves.

He hooked his playoff hole tee shot to the right and into the trees, then blasted a five-wood through a gap in the foliage and over the water. His chip rolled straight at the pin, while Stenson's birdie putt lipped the cup.

"When I teed off this morning, I just went out to have fun," said Fernandez-Castano, who won his first tour event at last year's Dutch Open.

The tournament's finish couldn't have been more different then last year's, when Ernie Els left the pack mid-tournament to win by
13 strokes.

Despite record crowds on Sunday, the tournament's title sponsor BMW said it wasn't sure whether the Open would be back for a fourth
year in Shanghai.