Golf: Gilford excels on Ryder road

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The Independent Online
DAVID GILFORD, the 27-year- old Ryder Cup player, won the Moroccan Open for the second year running after four sub-par rounds at Golf Royal de Agadir. He beat Jamie Spence and Stephen Ames, of Trinidad and Tobago, by one shot in a thrilling finish yesterday.

Gilford had a last-round 71 for a total of 279, nine under par, with Spence and Ames shooting 72s after the three men had begun the day level on 208.

But it was nip and tuck at the death as Gilford, leading by a stroke, took three putts at the 17th for a par five. Ames birdied the hole to draw level at nine under with Spence still one shot behind.

Gilford and Spence had pars at the last, but Ames went over the back of the green, and then chipped 12 feet short. His putt to draw level was on line, but finished three inches short for a bogey five.

Gilford said: 'Today was some of the best golf I have played and this week I've had probably the best four rounds I've ever put together. It was really nerve-racking as we were all so close and a long way ahead of the fourth man. At the end Ames put me under great pressure and I did not think I had got it until he went over the back at the last.'

Gilford has made an excellent start to the season, being in the top 10 in Madeira, Dubai and Tenerife. This was his third European Tour success.

He also won all his five singles when he helped England win the Dunhill Cup at St Andrews in October and the pounds 62,500 prize money will considerably boost his chances of inclusion in the European Ryder Cup team again. He is 11th in the Ryder Cup table with 112,708.93 points and fourth in the European money list with pounds 82,835.

MOROCCAN OPEN (Golf Royal de Agadir) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 279 D Gilford 68 70 70 71. 280 J Spence 67 69 72 72; S Ames (Trin) 70 72 66 72. 284 R Karlsson (Swe) 75 67 73 69. 286 V Fernandez (Arg) 77 67 70 72. 287 W Westner (SA) 70 71 73 73; M Sunesson (Swe) 75 72 69 71. 288 T Johnstone (Zim) 78 71 72 67; C Mason 76 69 71 72; F Nobilo (NZ) 73 74 69 72. 289 M Mouland 72 79 71 67. 290 D Smyth 75 73 71 71. 291 R Chapman 75 73 73 70; A Hunter 75 73 71 72; D Clarke 76 67 76 72. 292 I Palmer (SA) 75 74 74 69; D Curry 72 74 74 72; M James 74 76 69 73; P Mayo 71 74 71 76. 293 C Montgomerie 73 77 73 70; G Brand Jnr 73 77 74 69; N Godin 76 73 73 71; S Richardson 73 75 74 71; S Struver (Ger) 77 71 72 73; J Townsend (US) 72 70 78 73; S Torrance 74 72 75 72; J Hawkes (SA) 77 72 71 73; P Walton 77 72 70 74; M-A Martin (Sp) 70 75 73 75; J Parnevik (Swe) 76 72 69 76. 294 A Sherborne 74 73 74 73, M McLean 74 72 73 75; J Van De Velde (Fra) 75 76 68 75.

EUROPEAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT: 1 M James pounds 107,040; 2 N Faldo pounds 95,325; 3 W Westner (SA) pounds 84,765; 4 D Gilford pounds 82,835; 5 C Montgomerie pounds 70,150.60; 6 S Ames (Trin) pounds 53,572.50; 7 R Goosen (SA) pounds 48,847.86; 8 J Spence pounds 47,430.00; 9 De Wet Basson (SA) pounds 41,767.50; 10 S Richardson pounds 37,109.77.

EUROPEAN RYDER CUP POINTS TABLE: 1 B Lane 253,271.45pts; 2 N Faldo 228,527.50; 3 C Montgomerie 220,403.21; 4 M James 180,462.41; 5 J Spence 180,100.15; 6 S Lyle 172,109.01; 7 B Langer (Ger) 154,944.34; 8 M-A Jimenez (Sp) 153,948.18; 9 M Roe 131,993.77; 10 S Richardson 129,198.27; 11 D Gilford 112,708.93; 12 R Karlsson (Swe) 109,832.50.

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