Golf: Feherty finally finds his true form

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The Independent Online
David Feherty, the 34-year- old Ryder Cup player from Ulster, won his first European tournament of the year when he overturned a two-stroke deficit going into the final round to beat Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty by four shots in the Iberia Madrid Open at Puerta de Hierro yesterday.

Feherty more than doubled his European tour earnings for the season with a closing 67, and a four-round total of 272, 16 under par. 'After such an awful season, this is a fantastic feeling,' he said. The victory lifts him from 83rd in the Order of Merit to 46th - and into this week's Volvo Masters at Valderrama.

He took the lead with three birdies in a row from the third, but McNulty, on his 39th birthday, levelled again on the seventh. The 300-yard eighth proved crucial. McNulty played a three-wood off the tee, pitched poorly and then three-putted for a bogey five, while Feherty came up a yard short of the green with a driver, chipped to two feet and went two clear.

Both bogeyed the 217-yard 11th and then, after McNulty dropped another on the next, the Irishman pitched to 10 feet at the 309-yard 13th and was four ahead. All he had to do then was avoid a bad mistake, but it nearly came at the short 17th. 'I was plugged under the lip of the bunker and I could see the nightmare coming,' Feherty said afterwards. 'But I hit a career shot to three feet and that's where I won the tournament.'

Joint third, on 10 under, six adrift, were two more Irishmen, Ronan Rafferty and Eamonn Darcy, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie and Argentina's Eduardo Romero.

IBERIA MADRID OPEN (Puerta de Hierro, Madrid) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 272 D Feherty 71 65 69 67. 276 M McNulty (Zim) 66 71 66 73. 278 E Darcy 68 69 72 69; E Romero (Arg) 74 67 68 69; C Montgomerie 66 69 73 70; R Rafferty 71 67 70 70. 279 D Cooper 72 72 67 68; V Singh (Fiji) 71 69 70 69; M Roe 69 70 70 70; M James 70 73 66 70; M A Jimenez (Sp) 71 64 73 71; J M Canizares (Sp) 71 66 68 74. 280 P Way 70 73 70 67; D Smyth 68 72 70 70; J Spence 72 70 68 70; M Sunesson (Swe) 69 71 68 72; S Richardson 69 68 70 73. 281 V Fernandez (Arg) 72 71 70 68; A Murray 68 73 70 70; M Mackenzie 72 66 71 72; S Torrance 67 70 72 72; S Luna (Sp) 68 69 71 73; P Mitchell 72 68 67 74. 282 S Tinning (Den) 71 69 73 69; B Lane 71 69 73 69; S Grappasonni (It) 72 72 70 68; S Bennett 69 72 69 72; D Clarke 70 74 66 72. 284 A Hunter 71 74 69 70; J Bland (SA) 73 70 71 70; J Rivero (Sp) 72 68 72 72; A Forsbrand (Swe) 72 70 68 74. 285 P Price 73 71 71 70; T Johnstone (Zim) 70 71 72 72; M Allen (US) 73 68 72 72; J Daly (US) 70 71 72 72; R Chapman 73 70 69 73. Selected: 286 H Clark 71 72 70 73. 288 P Broadhurst 74 68 77 69. 289 S Lyle 74 71 74 70.

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