Haig is the hero

Strapping South African Anton Haig went from zero to European Tour hero with his maiden win in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand.

The 6 foot 4 ace from Johannesburg, 20, rolled in a ten footer at the first extra hole to edge out countryman Richard Sterne and England’s Oliver Wilson at Blue Canyon in Phuket.

After entering the event as an Affiliate Member of the tour, Haig earned full membership and an exemption through to the end of 2009 for the win.

But it took a remarkable birdie at the 72nd hole, where he smashed a wedge to three feet from the trees, to set up his chance.

Leading in the clubhouse on 13 under par after a 70, he watched as halfway leader Wilson and compatriot Sterne missed birdie putts at the last to be beat his total.

Then he took full advantage when the trio returned to the 18th in sudden death.

Wilson and Sterne missed their birdie putts again but Haig made no mistake from 10 feet to grab a cheque for €310,801.

Haig beamed: "It feels absolutely amazing. I didn’t think this would be possible, but after shooting 64 in the second round I knew I was hitting the ball well enough to win.

"The driver went straight for me today and the putts dropped. What a feeling it was on the 18th in the play-off. I am struggling to put it into words."

The seventh first time winner this season, Haig has now qualified to play the megabucks WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the HSBC Champions Tournament.

Retief Goosen finished fourth - three shots outside the play-off- with Damien McGrane tied for 32nd on three under after a 73.

Ulsterman Graeme McDowell crashed to a 77 to share 60th place on two over.