Golf: Faldo triumphs in play-off: Montgomerie and Langer made to rue missed opportunities at Belgian Open

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO secured one of the more dramatic victories of his career when he came from behind to beat Sweden's Joakim Haeggman at the first sudden-death play-off hole at the Alfred Dunhill Belgian Open yesterday.

Faldo started the final session five shots behind Colin Montgomerie and three adrift of Bernhard Langer, with little expectation of success at Knokke-le-Zoute.

However, Montgomerie, shooting a six-over-par 77, and Langer, with a 75, both fell away and it was Haeggman who arrived at the 383- yard final hole needing a par four for victory. He had a flier out of the rough with his approach, went over the back, chipped five feet past and missed the putt to share first place with Faldo, who had already finished on 279, five under par.

At the opening hole of the play-off, the 17th, Faldo gained a steady par five, but the Swede put his three-wood second into thick rough, hacked out into a bunker and failed to get up and down.

Faldo, who has not won a tournament since the Irish Open 11 months ago, could hardly believe his luck. 'I looked at the leaderboard when I got to the turn and saw that both Monty and Bernhard had dropped shots,' he said. 'When I eagled the 12th I thought I had a chance if I could make one or two birdies in the last six holes. I'm really pleased to have won again because it is the reward for all the hard work I've put in this year.

'I've been striking the ball really well, but things haven't always clicked. This is great timing because my next tournament is the US Open in a couple of weeks.'

ALFRED DUNHILL BELGIAN OPEN (Knokke-le-Zoute) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 279 N Faldo 67 74 67 71 (won play-off at first extra hole); J Haeggman (Swe) 73 68 66 72. 280 P Hedblom (Swe) 69 73 65 73; B Langer (Ger) 69 68 68 75; C Montgomerie 67 70 66 77. 281 P Walton 73 67 69 72; I Garrido (Sp) 67 70 71 73. 282 M Clayton (Aus) 68 70 73 71; A Murray 69 71 69 73. 283 D Smyth 72 75 68 68; R Davis (Aus) 73 71 68 71; B Lane 65 70 76 72. 284 O Karlsson (Swe) 69 74 70 71. 285 R Goosen (SA) 73 73 71 68; G Brand Jnr 69 74 70 72; S McAllister 72 70 70 73. 286 J Hawkes (SA) 72 71 73 70; G Turner (NZ) 71 74 70 71; M Roe 69 69 74 74. 287 M McLean 70 71 75 71; D Williams 68 75 73 71; G Orr 71 73 72 71; D Gilford 74 70 72 71; V Singh (Fiji) 69 70 75 73. 288 P Mitchell 72 73 73 70; C Davison 70 74 73 71; M Harwood (Aus) 73 70 73 72; P-U Johansson (Swe) 74 69 72 73; F Nobilo (NZ) 73 72 70 73. 289 G Manson 73 73 74 69; L Westwood 73 74 71 71; R Rafferty 74 72 71 72; K Eriksson (Swe) 70 76 71 72; R Wessels (SA) 69 72 74 74; D Hospital (Sp) 67 76 70 76; J Rivero (Sp) 70 75 68 76; A Forsbrand (Swe) 73 70 69 77. 290 S Lyle 72 74 71 73; A Sherborne 69 72 74 75.

VOLVO EUROPEAN TOUR Order of Merit Leading positions (GB or Irl unless stated): 1 J-M Olazabal (Sp) pounds 241,402.04; 2 E Els (SA) pounds 188,230.00; 3 C Montgomerie pounds 188,041.25; 4 N Faldo pounds 180,730.00; 5 B Langer (Ger) pounds 153,425.42; 6 S Ballesteros (Sp) pounds 149,808.04; 7 P Hedblom (Swe) pounds 120,138.53; 8 J Haeggman (Swe) pounds 108,610.00; 9 H Clark pounds 102,768.22; 10 E Romero (Arg) pounds 99,822.37; 11 A Forsbrand (Swe) pounds 98,114.50; 12 P Eales pounds 97,536.97; 13 J Lomas pounds 96,238.37; 14 M-A Jimenez (Sp) pounds 93,087.89; 15 D Gilford pounds 90.697.79; 16 P Price (Zim) pounds 90,358.88; 17 B Lane pounds 86,686.98; 18 M Roe pounds 85,312.04; 19 I Woosnam pounds 83,300.00; 20 G Orr pounds 78,143.67.

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