By Bernie McGuire
NEWCASTLE, Northern Ireland (Reuters) - Soren Kjeldsen ended a six-year victory drought to become the third Danish winner of the Irish Open, capturing a fourth career title with a birdie at the first extra playoff hole on Sunday.
The 40-year old went into the last day at the Royal County Down course leading by two shots but saw that disappear when commencing his round with back-to-back bogeys.
Kjeldsen then slipped further behind with a double bogey at the eighth before coming to the last hole and holing a short par putt to join England's Eddie Pepperell (69) and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (73) in a playoff following the Dane's round of a five-over-par 76 for a two under par total.
Kjeldsen then holed a four-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole to deny his two rivals.
There was the added bonus for Kjeldsen of securing a place in July's Open Championship at St. Andrews.
Joining Kjeldsen in sealing an Open Championship berth were Pepperell and South African Tyrrell Hatton (74), who shared fourth place.
Among the first to greet Kjeldsen after his victory was Northern Irish world number one and tournament host Rory McIlroy, who had missed the halfway cut.
Only five players managed to break par overall after wet and windy conditions during the week.
(Editing by Mark Meadows; firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; email@example.com)