Australia’s Brett Rumford admitted it was “quite surreal” to have won his second tournament in eight days on the European Tour with a commanding victory in the Volvo China Open.
Rumford carded a final round of 68 at Binhai Lake Golf Club to finish 16-under-par, four shots clear of Finland’s Mikko Ilonen (71), with France’s Victor Dubuisson (68) third on 11-under.
The 35-year-old from Perth had not won since 2007 before securing victory in the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea last Sunday with an eagle-3 on the first hole of a three-man play-off.
But the winner’s cheque of £345,000 takes his earnings to more than £650,000 for two weeks’ work and to the top of the Race to Dubai, while he has risen from 253rd in the world rankings a fortnight ago to a career-high place inside the top 80.
“As with last week I am kind of speechless at the moment, it’s quite surreal,” said Rumford. “It’s really hard to try to go back to back, it’s the first time I’ve actually played the week after a win so I am more than pleased. It’s quite a feat, it’s very special.”
The last back-to-back winner on the European Tour was Branden Grace, who won the Joburg Open and Volvo Golf Champions in his native South Africa in January 2012.
Rumford began the day one shot ahead of playing partner Ilonen and extended that advantage to three with a flawless front nine of 33. The lead was down to one when Ilonen birdied the tenth and 11th, but Rumford edged further in front with a birdie on the par-5 12th and then holed from 45ft for birdie on the 13th and 14th for good measure.
“They were a couple of really nice putts,” Rumford said with considerable understatement. “You don’t really expect to make them, it’s just a lag, but halfway they looked in and that was the turning point. Mikko put the pressure on me through ten and 11 and it was always going to be close but it’s amazing this game, it turns so quickly. Last week on 17 it turned for the worse and now here I am just trying to defend, to limp my way home and finish it off.”
Paul Lawrie closed with a 72 for a share of 14th on five-under, two fewer than Stephen Gallacher (73) in joint 24th. Richie Ramsay’s 74 earned him a share of 29th but Peter Whiteford and Scott Jamieson closed with costly rounds of 78 and 83 respectively.