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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2008 > European Tour > Open de Espana > Round 4


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Peter Lawrie beats Ignacio Garrido in a playoff

Ireland’s Peter Lawrie beat Spaniard Ignacio Garrido in a sudden-death playoff at the Spanish Open on Sunday to claim his maiden European Tour title after coming back from five strokes behind overnight.

Lawrie birdied four of the last six holes for a closing five-under 67 and a 15-under 273 total at the Real Club, while Garrido, the leader for the second and third rounds, holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the last for a 72 to match the Irishman.

Both players birdied the first extra hole but Garrido found water at the second hole of the shootout to concede the $521,000 first prize with a bogey to Lawrie’s par.

Lawrie’s success came in his sixth tour year and five years after he lost a playoff for the same title to Britain’s Kenny Ferrie in the Canary Islands.

The 34-year-old Dubliner became the second winner from the Republic of Ireland in three weeks after Damien McGrane won the China Open two weeks ago. Last week Darren Clarke, from Northern Ireland, won the Asian Masters.

“It’s been quite a time for the Irish, with my room mate Damien winning by nine shots and Darren’s win last week,” Lawrie told reporters.

“I’ve been in a playoff for this title before and didn’t do myself justice and now I’ve done it.”

In Sunday’s playoff, former Ryder Cup player Garrido, who had surged into the lead with a course-record 63 in the second round and led by three shots going into Sunday’s finale, looked as though he would complete his first win for five years when he hit into the 18th green to four feet.

Lawrie had other ideas, however, and sank his 25-footer first before Garrido holed out too.

At the second extra hole, Lawrie found the green despite being bunkered but Garrido’s approach from the fairway sent his ball into the lake to end his chances of following father Antonio, who won the title in 1972.

“I thought I’d won it before Ignacio holed on the 72nd,” Lawrie said. “Then I hit one of the best putts of my life to keep the playoff alive.”

The pair had finished a stroke better than Denmark’s Soren Hansen, who closed with a 69.

All the promise of a showdown for the home fans between Garrido and compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez ended when Jimenez twice found water at the 10th to triple-bogey.

After early leader Jimenez collapsed, Garrido clawed his way back to the top of the leaderboard, having gone out three-over.

But, crucially, the 36-year-old from Madrid three-putted the long 16th, missing from four feet for par, to stay a stroke adrift of Lawrie, who had stormed into the lead with an exhilarating run which included a 40ft birdie putt on 17.

The normally calm and mild-mannered Lawrie, though, could not conceal his excitement as he pranced around the green after holing his 25-footer at sudden-death, the putt that would end Garrido’s hopes.

“I didn’t think for one moment he would make it,” Garrido told reporters. “It’s a big disappointment but you can’t control what the other player does.”

Jimenez shared fourth place on 13-under with compatriot Alfredo Garcia-Heredia and Britain’s David Lynn.


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