Open de España
23rd - 26th April 1998
72 Prize Money £550,000
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Second Round Report
First Round Report
wins his second event of 1998
Spain, 26th April 1998 - Denmark's Thomas Bjørn clinched the Open de España
for his second European Tour title of the year on Sunday with a final six-under-par
round of 66.
took the lead as late as the 16th hole when a chip-in for his eighth birdie of
the day was enough to keep Spaniard José Maria Olazábal
and Australian overnight leader Greg Chalmers at bay.
was Bjørn's second victory of the year after he had taken the Heineken Classic in Perth, the second tour event of the year.
really expect this after taking five weeks' off," said Bjørn. "But when
your confidence has gone like mine did after winning in Perth, it just shows it's
best to take a break and regroup."
feel my game has improved so much that I can take on the best in the world now
and when the chance comes I know I will do well in a Major."
leading three and Argentina's Eduardo Romero had traded places on top of
the leaderboard but Bjørn's 21-under-par total of 267 earned him the £91,660 first
prize by one stroke.
ended playing partner Olazábal's chances of winning a first Open de España title
as the Spaniard, the 1994 Masters champion, had to settle for a 67 and joint second
with Chalmers, whose 69 was not quite enough for his maiden European Tour title.
Australian missed a birdie chance from 15 feet at the last to force a playoff
with Bjørn, his ball agonisingly spinning out of the hole.
lost the lead after two mistakes in the middle of the back nine and finished tied
fourth a further two strokes adrift of Bjørn, level with defending champion Mark James
was the second time Bjørn had beaten a former U.S. Masters champion. He pipped
1991 Augusta champion Ian Woosnam in Heineken Classic.
could have been really nervous coming down the last holes but my experience playing
Ryder Cup last year and being able to beat Ian Woosnam earlier in the year enabled
me to handle the pressure," Bjørn said.
birdies once again easy to come by in perfect conditions, it was always going
to be the man with the best run of them down the closing stretch who was going
to prevail and Bjørn proved to be the man.
had taken the lead with an eagle on the 10th but faltered with bogeys on the 14th
and 15th. Olazábal was unable to make the vital birdies coming home and with Chalmers
spoiling his chances with a bogey on 14, Bjørn took charge.
had trailed Olazábal by two strokes on the 13th but three successive birdies ending
with the chip-in from the edge of the bunker on 16 set up the Ryder Cup Dane's
second success of the year.
who shot an eight-under-par 64 on Saturday, missed his best chance of lifting
his first Open de España title and knew why. "I said to my manager on Friday
night that I needed two rounds of seven-under-par to win and I was right because
I failed by one stroke through being 13-under at the weekend.
secret was that Bjørn had a good run of birdies at the end and I didn't."
he, too, had lost it at the end. "I played pretty solid and never backed
off even if it was my first chance of winning," he said. "I didn't really
do a lot wrong, just missed a couple of greens badly towards the end and that
looked on the way to the first official European Tour 59 when he went out in six-under-par
29 and birdied 10 of the first 14 holes.
the 28-year-old Swede double-bogeyed the 16th and finished with the week's sixth
64, one stroke off the course record.