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Golf: Last-hole eagle as Aguilar snatches Championship

Chile's Felipe Aguilar eagled his last hole to overhaul leader Anders Hansen and seize victory at The Championship in Singapore after a dramatic last-day charge on Sunday.

SINGAPORE: Chile's Felipe Aguilar eagled his last hole to overhaul leader Anders Hansen and seize victory at The Championship in Singapore after a dramatic last-day charge on Sunday.

Aguilar fired eight birdies in a sensational final round but he was still trailing Denmark's Hansen by a stroke when he stepped onto the 18th tee at the par-72 Laguna National Golf and Country Club.

But he heroically eagled the par-four final hole for a 10-under-par 62 and an aggregate score of 22-under 266, one better than Hansen who shot 67 to finish joint second with American David Lipsky.

The eagle at the last completed a jaw-dropping back nine in which Aguilar picked up eight strokes, including four birdies in a row from 10 plus two more on 15 and 17.

The 39-year-old, who started the day four shots back in shared seventh, had rounds of 65, 67, 72 and 62 for his second European Tour victory after he won the Indonesian Open in 2008.

He dashed Hansen's hopes of a fourth European Tour win, while Thailand's Panuphol Pittayarat, the joint overnight leader alongside Hansen, crashed to a 74 which gave him a share of 11th.

India's Rahil Gangjee was three shots back in fourth and England's Chris Wood was fifth. India's Anirban Lahiri and France's Gregory Bourdy were tied for sixth in the $1.5 million, co-sanctioned event.

Aguilar said: "Yesterday, I thought I had no chance. Today the way I played on the back nine - I even told my caddy on the 17th hole after I made a birdie, 'If we can make a birdie on the 18th then we can put a little bit of pressure on the leader.' And he said, 'Well, you can make two'. Long story short, I made two on 18 and it was a very beautiful way to finish."

The only two Singaporeans to make the cut ended the competition trailing by double digits. Lam Chih Bing finished 15 shots behind Aguilar, while Quincy Quek was a further six shots back.

Quek had been joint second after day one.

Quek said: "Golf is not a sport you can reverse. So for now it's just moving forward to the next event. Today wasn't as good as I'd hoped for, but overall I'm quite happy with the week, happy to make the weekend."

The Championship is the first sanctioned golf tournament held in Singapore since November 2012. That was the last time that the Singapore Open was organised here. There are tentative plans for the event to return this year.

And Lam believes the presence of world-class golf tournaments will help grow the sport in Singapore.

He said: "Growing up, we used to have the Rolex Masters and Singapore Open every single year. And I, growing up, used to watch it and that's what made me want to be a professional golfer. It's nice to see some kids out here and looking back, I was in their position 20, 25 years ago." 

Calling Laguna National one of several world-class golf courses in Singapore, Lam believes there's little reason why Singapore cannot host more sanctioned tournaments.

The Championship was held as the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea for six editions from 2008, but after losing its title sponsor it was hurriedly relocated to Singapore last month.

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