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Kenneth Ferrie can't believe European Open win

Briton Kenneth Ferrie was still coming to terms with his surprise European Open victory when he woke up on Monday morning at his Ashington home in the north-east of England.

Ferrie came from seven strokes behind to clinch his second European Tour title by two shots after a nightmare collapse by overnight leader Thomas Bjorn, including an 11 on the 17th hole, in Ireland on Sunday.

"I know the expression 'it's going to take a while to sink in' is the usual one trotted out on these occasions but this really will take some believing," said the 26-year-old Englishman.

"I never in my wildest dreams thought three under would be good enough to win, let alone two under."

Ferrie carded a two-under 70 to finish on three-under 285 at the K Club's Palmer Course while Bjorn slumped to a dismal 14-over 86, ending up nine strokes adrift in a tie for 33rd.

The 16-shot swing was a record on the European Tour by five shots, eclipsing Nick Faldo's 11-shot swing over Greg Norman in the final round of the 1996 U.S. Masters.

Bjorn, who had his misery compounded by a rainstorm as he three-putted the last, had led the tournament by four shots going into the final day.

The lowest point for the Dane came at the par-four 17th, where he hit three balls into the River Liffey on his way to a seven-over 11, but his struggles began earlier as he dropped five strokes in the first 10 holes.

The 34-year-old, who 12 months ago walked off the course after only six holes of the European Open first round at the same venue, will now have to fight off more demons.

A source close to the Dane said he had been "near suicidal" after running up the highest score on the last day at the K Club.

The source added that Bjorn's experience was even worse than his implosion in the final round of the 2003 British Open at Royal St George's when unheralded American Ben Curtis, like Ferrie in Ireland on Sunday, became the surprise beneficiary.

Bjorn had led that year's Open championship by three with four holes to play but took three shots to escape from a greenside bunker at the par-three 16th before finishing second behind Curtis.

If Bjorn's Sunday night proved sleepless as he wondered how best to regroup with this month's British Open at St Andrews looming large, Briton Andrew Coltart's sleep will also have been fitful.

The former Ryder Cup player four-putted from just 12 feet for a triple-bogey seven at the 17th, losing his own chance of victory and eventually finishing tied for sixth after a 75.

While Bjorn and Coltart experienced different levels of agony, Ferrie could only delight in his second European Tour victory, after the 2003 Spanish Open, and a five-year exemption.

It seemed to make little difference, though, that he earned a cheque for $700,000.

Ferrie, who hails from the same mining town as British footballers Bobby and Jack Charlton and England test cricketer Steve Harmison, returned home on a 30 pound ($52.76) budget airline flight on Sunday accompanied by a few friends.

 

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