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Andres Romero seeks win at easier course

After a narrow miss at the British Open last week, Andres Romero is aiming for his first European Tour win at the Deutsche Bank Players' Championship.

The 26-year-old Argentine, who missed a playoff by a stroke after leading with two holes left, will tackle a Gut Kaden course starting Thursday that's a far cry from the Carnoustie layout golfers fought at the Open.

The flat, tree-lined Gut Kaden has historically been picked apart for low scores. Robert Karlsson won last year in 25-under-par 263, a tournament record. Lee Westwood shot a 61 in 1998.

Some players hope to boost their confidence with a run of easy birdies, including Brett Wetterich, one of several Americans who stuck around in Europe to play the event after the British Open.

Wetterich missed the cut four of his last five tournaments after a second-place finish at the World Golf Championships at the end of March.

"Kind of been struggling putting. If I'm rolling them good, I'll be happy," Wetterich said. "This is a different golf course than Carnoustie, but you still have to go out and hit the ball well and get it in the hole."

This year's favorites include Retief Goosen, Rory Sabbatini, Niclas Fasth, and Karlsson, who is one of four members of Europe's 2006 Ryder Cup team in the tournament, along with Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Paul McGinley.

Karlsson's low score last year was aided by a heat wave that softened the course with burnt greens. This year, downpours have raked Gut Kaden for weeks -- leading to closed parking lots and spectators who will be shuttled to the course.

But it's questionable whether the rain will have an impact on Gut Kaden.

"So far the championship course had not been affected at all by the rainfall," said David Probyn, the tournament director. "Even if more rains fall in the next few days, we assume that they will not seriously affect the game or spectator activities."

Romero has won three times in his homeland, and has earned regular top-10 finishes since joining the European Tour full-time in 2006.

The Argentine played the final day of the Open with Jim Furyk and finished third after he lost his lead with a double bogey on the 17th hole. Nonetheless, he walked away from the major with a changed view of his place in the golf world.

"The best players in the world are here and I played with the No. 2 in the world," Romero said. "I felt very comfortable playing with him and I felt I belonged here."

Sabbatini won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in May and tied for second at the Masters.

"This year has been exceptional -- and I'm hopefully looking forward to capitalizing off it with maybe a couple of wins," Sabbatini.

Fasth won the title here in 2005 and has had several strong tournaments this year. The Swede was fourth at the U.S. Open, then returned to Germany to win June's BMW Open.

"It kind of feels like home here in some way. I seem to do well in this country," Fasth said. "A win recently helps the confidence as well."


July 26, 2007

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