Golf: Faldo throws away his chance

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO dropped six shots in 10 holes to throw away the Belgian Open at the Royal Zoute Golf Club yesterday, allowing Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez to win his first European Tour event.

Faldo was three shots ahead of Jimenez after eight holes of the final round, looking set to win in Europe for the fifth time this year. But then the world No 1 had six bogeys to come home in a disastrous 42 and finish joint fifth.

Jimenez, in contrast, played with great steadiness to finish in 69 for a 10-under-par total of 274, three shots ahead of Britain's Barry Lane and four ahead of Seve Ballesteros and Germany's Torsten Giedeon.

Faldo, who shared fifth place with Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle and Sweden's Per-Ulrik Johansson, said: 'You simply have to keep out of the rough here, and I had bad drives at 9, 11 and 12 and paid the penalty.'

Faldo had one consolation: he won pounds 19,850 to pass Woosnam's record official earnings in one season on the European Tour of pounds 574,166, set in 1990.

Faldo, having had three birdies in his first six holes and looking serene, went into his nightmare at the 402-yard ninth after going over the back of the green. He had pars at 10 and 11, but had to chip out sideways at the par-five 12th after driving into the trees with his second shot.

He was short in two at the 13th where he again found the rough; he took a penalty drop out of a bush at the 15th and was lucky to get away with a one-putt bogey; and he was bunkered at the short 16th. Then, to cap an inglorious day, he took three putts at the last.

Jimenez went out in 33, just one worse than Faldo, but came home with eight pars and a birdie four at the 12th to win not only the first prize of pounds 100,000 but also pounds 14,000 for the best score of the week, his record 64 in the third round.

Lane, playing as solidly as ever, had a one-under-par 70 to take second place while Ballesteros had a superb finishing round of 67 to share fourth place. Woosnam would have been higher had he not taken an eight at the par-five 15th, where he was twice in the bushes.

John Daly, of the United States, gained his first tournament victory since unexpectedly winning the US PGA last year. Daly shot a five-under-par final round of 66 to win the BC Open title in Endicott, New York, by six strokes yesterday.

PIAGET BELGIAN OPEN (Royal Zoute Golf Club, Knokke) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 274 M A Jimenez (Sp) 71 70 64 69. 277 B Lane 68 68 71 70. 278 T Giedeon (Ger) 72 70 71 65; S Ballesteros (Sp) 70 71 70 67. 279 S Lyle 69 70 72 68; I Woosnam 67 70 71 71; P-U Johansson (Swe) 72 69 69 69; N Faldo 69 67 69 74. 280 P Walton 70 73 71 66; D Clarke 69 72 68 71. 281 R Rafferty 71 70 71 69; J Payne 68 72 71 70; V Singh (Fiji) 75 70 66 70. 282 F Nobilo (NZ) 74 71 69 68; R Claydon 73 73 67 69. 283 D Mijovic (Can) 71 69 74 69; T Charnley 69 70 75 69; P Senior (Aus) 72 67 73 71. 284 P Mitchell 75 70 72 67; B Langer (Ger) 75 70 71 68; R Hartmann (US) 73 74 69 68; J Bland (SA) 70 71 73 70; S Richardson 71 70 71 72; R Boxall 75 69 68 72. 285 F Lindgren (Swe) 73 74 70 68; J Parnevik (Swe) 71 76 71 67; P Baker 71 69 75 70; P Hall 69 74 72 70; P Fowler (Aus) 71 72 72 70. 286 J Rivero (Sp) 74 73 71 68; M Pinero (Sp) 76 71 71 68; R Chapman 76 71 70 69; B Ogle (Aus) 71 73 72 70; A Hunter 71 74 71 70; W Riley (Aus) 73 71 70 72; P Way 72 70 70 74. 287 M James 70 74 74 69; G Brand Jnr 72 74 70 71; M Allen (US) 79 68 69 71; C Montgomerie 73 69 72 73; E Els (SA) 73 71 69 74. 288 S Field 74 69 75 70; J Van de Velde (Fr) 75 70 73 70; J Townsend (US) 73 69 75 71; J Sewell 73 72 71 72. 289 G Turner 72 74 72 71; B Malley (US) 74 73 71 71; C Rocca (It) 74 73 70 72; P Curry 72 70 73 74; K Trimble (Aus) 74 69 71 75. Selected: 290 S Torrance 71 76 73 70. 293 E Darcy 76 70 75 72.

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