Golf: Park is pipped in dramatic play-off

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The Independent Online
MIGUEL ANGEL MARTIN beat Welsh rookie David Park at the sixth extra hole of a dramatic play-off to win the Moroccan Open yesterday.

After both players finished the tournament on 12 under par, they went into a sudden-death play-off at the 18th hole at Agadir. Both men bogeyed it, parred it, twice bogeyed it again, and then parred it. But at the sixth time of asking the Spaniard scored a par four to Park's bogey five to take the pounds 58,000 first prize.

Martin had started the morning on eight under par, four shots behind overnight leader Park, who had led from the first round in his debut event on the PGA European Tour. By halfway the gap had been narrowed to just one stroke as Martin picked up two birdies on the front nine, while Park dropped back with a bogey.

The big question was whether the nerve of the rookie from the Challenge Tour would hold out, although Park is currently leading the junior circuit and is used to being in contention because he has had five top-10 finishes in eight events this season. Martin, on the other hand, was the experienced professional in the chasing pack. He is a self-taught player who emerged from the caddie ranks in Madrid and once shot a 59 in the South Argentine Open in 1987.

Park pulled away again on the back nine with birdies at the 12th, 13th and 16th, but blew his lead by bogeying the last two holes to finish on level-par 72. Martin birdied the 10th, 16th and 17th but bogeyed the 12th to shoot a four-under 68, and it was enough to earn a play-off.

The Spaniard has had two victories on the Tour and qualified for the last Ryder Cup at Valderrama in 1997, only to miss the event with a wrist injury.

MOROCCAN OPEN (Agadir) Leading final-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 276 M A Martin (Sp) 67 71 70 68; D Park 67 69 68 72 (M A Martin won play off at sixth extra hole). 279 K Eriksson (Swe) 75 67 69 68. 280 J Berendt (Arg) 68 71 72 69; E Carlberg (Swe) 67 72 66 75. 281 N O'Hern (Aus) 70 70 70 71. 283 A Raitt 73 68 72 70; D Lee 68 74 69 72; C Larrain (Ven) 68 70 70 75. 284 S Scahill (Nzl) 71 71 70 72. 285 S Watson 71 74 72 68; J M Arruti (Sp) 73 71 71 70. 286 D Lynn 73 72 71 70.

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