128th Open Championship
128th Open Championship
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4th Round Features
Paul Lawrie wins Open after playoff
Open goes into playoff as Van de Velde self destructs on 18
Van de Velde sees lead vanish
Van de Velde off to uncertain start
Davis Love closing on leaders
Fortune favours Van de Velde as final day starts

Paul Lawrie wins Open after playoff

Scotsman Paul Lawrie won the 128th Open at Carnoustie in a play-off after an amazing collapse by Jean Van de Velde.

Lawrie, from nearby Aberdeen, Van de Velde and 1997 Open champion Justin Leonard went into a four-hole play-off after one of the most amazing collapses in the tournament's history.

Frenchman Van de Velde had the tournament at his mercy as he stood on the tee at the 18th with a three-shot lead.

But incredibly he took a triple bogey seven to slip back to six-over-par and Leonard and Lawrie, who had given up all hope, were suddenly called back to contest a four-hole play-off.

Van de Velde's calamitous 18th began with a wayward drive that left him almost on the 17th fairway.

His approach to the green then clattered into the grandstand on the right side of the green and bounced back into deep rough.

His third he dumped in the burn in front of the green and incredibly he then removed his shoes and socks, stepped into the water, and contemplated playing out rather than taking a penalty shot.

Eventually he saw sense and took a drop to leave himself needing to get up and down for a six to win the title.

But his fifth shot from rough found the bunker and at that stage a play-off looked beyond him.

However, he chipped out and then bravely holed a 10 foot putt to get himself into the play-off.

The chaos continued at the first play-off, the par four 15th, as Van de Velde lost his first ball in a bush.

He did manage to get his second down in four but it still meant a double bogey.

But wayward drives by his two rivals resulted in bogeys for both to keep Van de Velde's hopes far from dead.

Another bogey at the par three 16th after his drive found the bunker left the Frenchman three over but Leonard and Lawrie again failed to take advantage and bogeys for both left them at two over.

The destiny of the 128th Open title was still very much in the balance with two holes to play.

Leonard made a solid par at the 17th but there were more fireworks as Van de Velde made a birdie level to join him at two over before Lawrie sank a birdie of his own to take a one shot lead.

Van de Velde's wayward driving cost him again at the last and when Leonard found the burn Lawrie was firmly in the driving seat.

And he chose that moment to play one of the shots of his life as a majestic iron landed just four feet from the flag.

It left him with a birdie putt which he holed to become the 1999 Open champion.

 


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