Briton takes title in style

Golf
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The Independent Online
Paul Broadhurst, the former Ryder Cup player who at the start of this year feared for his golfing future, won the Peugeot French Open in dazzling style in Paris yesterday. A 15-foot birdie putt on the final green for a course record 63 left him with a 14-under-par total of 274, eight strokes ahead of Neal Briggs.

"Last year I was so awful that I was worried about keeping my tour card," he said. "I am absolutely delighted." But while Broadhurst was celebrating - the pounds 91,660 first prize was more than twice his earnings last year - Costantino Rocca was suffering.

The Italian, three clear of Briggs overnight and four ahead of Broadhurst, finished 11 shots behind in joint fourth following a nightmare 78 with double-bogeys at the first two holes.

The pounds 61,110 Briggs picked up was the biggest of the 30-year-old's career. Since turning professional in 1985 he has had to make eight trips to the tour qualifying school and his previous best finish was eighth.

"I was sweating over the last few holes, but I played really solid," Briggs said after his level-par 72. "I had no chance of catching Paul the way he played, but coming second means I've kept my card for next year and that was my target."

Rocca relinquished his overnight advantage at the first hole. Briggs made a 20-foot putt for a birdie whereas the Italian went over the green into the bushes, took a penalty drop and finished with a six. At the short second he landed on a sprinkler head, bounded into the back of a bunker, failed to get out and took five.

Broadhurst had holed from 30 feet on the same hole and birdied the next two as well to take the lead off Briggs and after another birdie at the 377-yard sixth turned in two ahead.

The Swede Pierre Fulke was third and Sandy Lyle shared fourth place with Rocca and New Zealand's Greg Turner, while Jose Maria Olazabal, who sees a specialist in midweek about the small tumour on his right foot, birdied four of the last five holes for joint 11th place.

Broadhurst, who won both his matches in the 1991 Ryder Cup, moves from 64th to 17th in the points table, but says: "I've a long way to go to get my place back."

He is not exempt yet from having to qualify for next month's Open at St Andrews - the course where he equalled the Open record with a 63 in 1990.

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