Golf: James back with win

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The Independent Online
MARK JAMES yesterday opened the 1993 European golf season by completing his first tournament for 10 weeks and his first victory for two and a half years.

He shot a final-round 71 to register a four-round total of 281 and claim first place in the inaugural Madeira Island Open. Paul Broadhurst, James's Ryder Cup team-mate, and Yorkshire's Gordon J Brand were joint-second three strokes behind.

After collecting the pounds 41,660 first prize, the 39-year-old Leeds- based player said: 'I'm delighted - you can play really well these days and not win. It's nice to get one under my belt so early in the year. Hopefully it won't be so nerve-racking next time.'

James was twice caught by Broadhurst on the final nine holes, but the Midlander double- bogeyed the 348-yard 15th, pitching into sand after misjudging the wind and then taking two to get out.

Brand and Stephen Ames, of Trinidad, closed to one behind, but the former three-putted the short 17th and the latter - a tour school qualifier making his European debut - ran up a triple-bogey six on the same hole.

That gave James a two-shot cushion playing the last and he finished in style with a 20ft curling birdie putt.

The win takes James from 15th to ninth in the Ryder Cup points table, with pounds 115,000, but it is thought that prize-money of around pounds 300,000 will be necessary to gain one of the nine automatic spots in the European team. James was certainly not counting on his place: 'It's still a long way off and you need to have over pounds 200,000 before you even think about making the team.'

Brand, a member of the 1983 Ryder Cup team, missed the whole of the 1991 season after an operation for a prolapsed disc in his back. This was the first time he had been in contention in a tournament since and he said: 'I enjoyed that. I played really solid.'

MADEIRA ISLAND OPEN Leading final scores (GB and Irl unless stated): 281 M James 71 69 70 71. 284 P Broadhurst 72 71 70 71; G J Brand 71 72 70 71. 285 J Spence 72 69 73 71; R Rafferty 73 73 67 72. 286 G Ralph 72 74 69 71; D Gilford 73 73 70 70; G Brand Jnr 69 75 72 70. 287 S Ames (Trin) 70 72 70 75; S Richardson 71 73 73 70; D Williams 72 72 73 70; P Mitchell 71 73 72 71. 288 R Chapman 67 75 73 73; O Eskildsen (Den) 68 76 71 73; J Robinson 74 70 71 73; A Hare 76 70 69 73; A Binaghi (It) 72 70 74 72; R Willison 73 70 76 69; S Torrance 70 77 70 71. 289 P McGinley 70 77 69 73; A Hunter 70 73 72 74; D W Basson (SA) 73 71 71 74; J Payne 71 71 74 73.

Leading positions in the European Ryder Cup table: 1 B Lane (Eng) 219,458.95 pts; 2 S Lyle (Sco) 172;109.01; 3 B Langer (Ger) 154,944.34; 4 C Montgomerie (Sco) 150,252.61; 5 J Spence (Eng) 144,220.15; 6 M A Jimenez (Sp) 138,120.09; 7 N Faldo (Eng) 133,202.50; 8 M Roe (Eng) 127,371.27; 9 M James (Eng) 115,082.41; 10 S Richardson (Eng) 96,961.

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