Golf: Olazabal's play-off win

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The Independent Online
JOSE-MARIA OLAZABAL won the Mediterranean Open at Torrivieja after a sudden death play- off yesterday, which left the Irishman Paul McGinley wondering how he lost the chance of his first European PGA Tour win.

McGinley was three shots ahead of the field with two holes to play, but he had a doubled-bogey at the 235-yard 17th and dropped another shot at the last.

In the play-off, after both players had three putts at the 17th, Olazabal sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the 18th to win his first Tour event for more than two years.

Olazabal said: 'I never thought I would win until I saw Paul take a wood at the 17th when he was three shots clear and I thought he would make a mistake. I think he should have taken an iron, but it gave me the chance to close the gap.'

McGinley said sadly: 'I had to wait for 20 minutes on the tee before I could take my shot and my mind wandered. I knew it was a one-iron with the wind blowing as it was, but I don't carry a one-iron and went with my five-wood.

'I didn't hit a good shot and it finished to the left of the green right against a stone which I could not move. I could only hit it five yards and it went up against a tree and from there I scrambled a double-bogey five.

'Then I hooked my ball at the last on to a sandy lie and hit another bad shot against the wall near to the green. I was allowed a free drop but had another five.'

Olazabal had four birdies and only two bogeys in his round of 70 for a 276 aggregate, 12 under par. It was his first victory since the Tenerife Open more than two years ago.

TURESPANA MEDITERRANEAN OPEN (Torrevieja) Leading final scores (GB or Ireland unless stated): 276 J-M Olazabal (Sp) 70 65 71 70; P McGinley 70 68 68 70 (Olazabal won sudden-death play-off at second extra hole). 278 P Baker 73 71 65 69; G J Brand 68 66 70 74. 279 K Eriksson (Swe) 67 72 70 70; R Allenby (Aus) 70 68 71 70; T Johnstone (Zim) 68 68 68 75. 280 P Golding 68 73 70 69; J Quiros (Sp) 67 67 71 75. 281 R Karlsson (Swe) 72 68 71 70; D W Basson (SA) 71 69 68 73; M-A Jimenez (Sp) 70 69 70 72. 282 I Garrido (Sp) 72 69 71 70; F Regard (Fr) 72 71 69 70; M Clayton (Aus) 72 70 65 75. 283 B Nelson (US) 68 74 75 66; T Price (Aus) 75 69 71 68; R McFarlane 74 69 71 69; P Mitchell 72 67 72 72; H Clark 72 68 71 72; A Coltart 71 71 69 72; L Westwood 68 69 71 75. 284 R Chapman 74 66 74 70; P Fulke (Swe) 73 70 70 71; D Hospital (Sp) 72 68 71 73; A Garrido (Sp) 66 75 68 75; F Nobilo (NZ) 68 70 70 76; D R Jones 76 66 67 75. 285 P Walton 72 70 74 69; M Zerman (It) 70 70 73 72; M Lanner (Swe) 73 70 70 72; A Bossert (Switz) 70 70 72 73; J McHenry 72 71 69 73; J Rivero (Sp) 69 71 70 75; D A Russell 69 69 70 77; S Bottomley 72 68 69 76. 286 S Grappasonni (It) 71 70 74 71; R Boxall 74 70 71 71; P Fowler (Aus) 69 72 72 73; M Gronberg (Swe) 69 72 72 73; M Nichols 70 70 72 74; R Claydon 72 65 72 77.

VOLVO EUROPEAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT: 1 J-M Olazabal (Sp) pounds 88,225.37; 2 E Els (SA) pounds 83,100.00; 3 A Forsbrand (Swe) pounds 66,760.00; 4 P Hedblom (Swe) pounds 63,425.00; 5 H Clark pounds 61,291.43; 6 C Mason pounds 59,949.89; 7 P Eales pounds 51,875.54; 8 M Lanner (Swe) pounds 49,492.50; 9 D Gilford pounds 46,308.50; 10 P McGinley pounds 46,105.26; 11 B Langer (Ger) pounds 41,812.50; 12 M-A Jimenez (Sp) pounds 36,035.92; 13 R Karlsson (Swe) pounds 34,040.00; 14 F Nobilo (NZ) pounds 32,986.36; 15 K Eriksson (Swe) pounds 32,498.79; 16 W Westner (SA) pounds 32,480.83; 17 P-U Johansson (Swe) pounds 31,621.84; 18 J Quiros (Sp) pounds 31,022.06; 19 I Woosnam pounds 30,000.00; 20 M Gronberg (Swe) pounds 29,667.46.

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