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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > SAS Masters > Round 4


Late birdies seal win for Ricardo Gonzalez

Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez produced a sensational finish as he birdied five of the last six holes to win the Scandinavian Masters on Sunday.

Gonzalez claimed his fourth European Tour title five years after his last as he closed with a four-under-par 69 for a 10-under 282 four-round total, two strokes better than Britain’s Jamie Donaldson.

The 39-year-old winner, a former caddie from Rosario, looked as though he had lost his victory chance when he slipped off the top of the leaderboard in round three with a 77.

However, an electrifying finish earned him first prize and a tour exemption until 2011, ending his worries about losing his playing card.

With Donaldson, who closed with a 68, waiting to see if he would make a playoff, Gonzalez chipped in from the greenside bunker on the 17th and then conjured up a magical nine-iron escape through a small gap in trees to land his ball four feet from the flag on the 18th.

“I had never given up hope of winning and I was confident with the chip on 17,” an elated Gonzalez told reporters, “even though it was a ‘fried egg’ in the sand. I have been teaching my caddie how to play that fried egg shot.

“In the trees on the 18th I had only about a three-metre gap to go through but it looked much smaller. It was either luck or a great shot, maybe both.”

Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl, the winner of the Wales Open in June, set the early pace, leading the field by three strokes after taking only 11 putts for his first 10 holes.

Two closing bogeys, though, left Huldahl in third place, four shots adrift of Gonzalez.

American Nathan Smith finished in a share of fourth place on four-under but the 26-year-old Californian denied himself a bigger cheque by running up a two-shot penalty for being late on the tee in the first round.

Smith, who missed getting a full tour card by one place at last winter’s qualifying school, got his tee-off time wrong on Thursday following an earlier weather suspension.

Tournament favourite Henrik Stenson (76) finished tied a disappointing tied 73rd of the 78 weekend qualifiers on 10-over-par, closing with two double-bogeys. The world number seven had hoped for much better when pledging his winnings to his youth golf foundation.


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