Golf: Nervous Baker gets out of a hole: Wolverhampton youngster wins Gothenburg play-off and improves chances of securing Ryder Cup place

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The Independent Online
PETER BAKER, the 25-year-old from Wolverhampton, improved his chances of inclusion in the Britain and Europe team for the Ryder Cup when he won the Scandanavian Masters in Gothenburg yesterday by beating Anders Forsbrand, of Sweden, at the second extra play-off hole.

Baker looked to be cruising to victory when he arrived at the 16th hole two shots clear of the 32-year-old Swede, but his nerve appeared to fail when he twice landed in a bunker and then made a mess of a chip to take a double-bogey six while Forsbrand had a four to force a play-off with both players finishing 10 under par on 278.

They went to the 18th tee where Baker then missed a five-foot putt for victory at the first play-off hole before, playing the 18th again, he had a safe four while Forsbrand, who began the day three shots behind Baker, went into the bunker from the tee and, short in two, took five. The win earned him pounds 108,330 and took him to eighth place in the points table.

'I was very nervous at the end and I made a real mess of that last hole,' Baker said. 'I tried not to let it get me down and told myself to keep plugging way. This win means a lot to me. I've never felt so much pressure before but I hit a great four-iron on to the green at the second extra hole and the relief was enormous.

It was Baker's second European Tour victory in nine weeks following his win by seven shots in June at the Dunhill British Masters at Woburn and Nick Faldo, who finished third on eight under par, believes Baker should now be chosen for the Ryder Cup. 'Peter will probably make it and it's important to have guys who are winners in the Ryder Cup,' Faldo said. 'There is even more pressure in the Ryder Cup than in a major and Peter has proved he can stand up to pressure.'

SCANDINAVIAN MASTERS (Gothenburg) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 278 P Baker 67 71 68 72 (Baker won play-off after second extra hole); A Forsbrand (Swe) 67 71 71 69. 280 N Faldo 69 72 71 68. 282 R Davis (Aus) 72 71 70 69; D Feherty 68 73 70 71. 283 S Ames (Trin) 71 68 71 73. 284 R Karlsson (Swe) 72 69 70 73; C Montgomerie 68 72 71 73. 285 C Rocca (It) 72 73 70 70; F Nobilo (NZ) 69 72 73 71; B Marchbank 71 71 70 73; S Richardson 70 71 70 74; P Way 71 69 71 74. 286 G Brand Jnr 71 70 74 71, S Struver (Ger) 71 73 71 71; V Singh (Fiji) 73 66 74 73. 287 J-M Olazabal (Sp) 73 74 71 69; D Clarke 71 74 72 70; P-U Johansson (Swe) 72 70 72 73; D W Basson (SA) 70 73 72 72. Selected: 299 S Ballesteros (Sp) 75 72 75 77.

EUROPEAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT (GB or Irl unless stated): 1 N Faldo pounds 379,820; 2 C Montgomerie pounds 301,124.37; 3 S Torrance pounds 295,721.52; 4 P Baker pounds 280,509.17; 5 C Rocca (It) pounds 260,365.98; 6 M James pounds 258,646.67; 7 B Langer (Ger) pounds 233,414.64; 8 J Haeggman (Swe) pounds 217,484.17; 9 J M Olazabal (Sp) pounds 215,988.14; 10 F Nobilo (NZ) pounds 212,590.76; 11 P Broadhurst pounds 205,232.61; 12 G Brand Jnr pounds 189,313.77.

EUROPEAN RYDER CUP POINTS TABLE (GB or Irl unless stated): 1 N Faldo 513,022.50; 2 C Montgomerie 451,988.08; 3 B Langer (Ger) 388,358.98; 4 B Lane 365,722.75; 5 M James 332,069.08; 6 S Torrance 325,929.20; 7 C Rocca (It) 304,597.25; 8 P Baker 297,179.17; 9 J M Olazabal (Sp) 282,488.14; 10 M Roe 248,322.41; 11 P Broadhurst 246,869.28; 12 S Richardson 244,313.74; 13 J Haeggman (Swe) 241,576.76; 14 J Spence 241,093.31; 15 A Forsbrand (Swe) 237,473.26; 16 G Brand jnr 227,134.43; 17 I Woosnam 219,388.12; 18 D Gilford 213,288.57; 19 J Payne 212,682.34; 20 J Parnevik (Swe) 206,887.65.

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