Cejka holds nerve

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Cejka holds nerve

Alexander Cejka, the 24-year-old Czech-born German, played an almost nerveless final round of 69 to win the Andalucia Open - his first European Tour victory - yesterday.

Cejka, who had begun the day as joint leader with Sweden's Anders Forsbrand, won by three shots from Costantino Rocca of Italy, with an aggregate of 278, six under par. Paul McGinley and Wayne Riley were joint third on 283, and these four were the only players to finish under par on a very difficult course.

Cejka, who was born in Marienbad and escaped over the Czech border with his father when he was only nine, said: "I think I am the second German to win on the Tour after Bernhard Langer, but perhaps the Czechs will claim me as their first winner."

Cejka could hardly have made a better start. He birdied four of the first six holes to go out in 33, but dropped shots at the 11th and 14th on the more difficult back nine. However, he finished with a flourish with a birdie at the 388-yard 18th.

Forsbrand was only two shots behind at the turn, but dropped five shots coming home, and the only real challenge to Cejka came from Rocca. The Italian came from one over to four under with two holes to play, but ruined his chance with a bogey four at the short 17th.

McGinley, of Ireland, who has missed the cut in his last three tournaments, had two rounds of 69 to come battling through the field, while Riley, the Australian based in Surrey, birdied the last hole to share third place.

Jose-Maria Olazabal, playing his first tournament for three months, shot 70 for a four-over-par 288. Although not satisfied with his play, he said: "I think I have time to get into good shape for Augusta."

Final scores, Sporting Digest, page 29