Golf: Payne holds nerve

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The Independent Online
JIM PAYNE confirmed the potential he showed when he won the PGA European Rookie of the Year in 1992 by winning the Turespana Balearic Open at Santa Ponsa, Majorca, yesterday.

The 22-year-old Englishman, who slipped-up in the third round of last week's Mediterranean Open when he led by three shots at the half-way stage, remained calm and beat Anders Gillner, of Sweden, at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off to win his first PGA European tournament.

Payne, who closed with a five- under-par 67 for an 11-under-par total of 277, looked likely to finish second when he had a bogey at the 17th. However, he held his nerve at the last, escaping out of a bunker to five feet and putting for a par.

That put the pressure on Gillner, who had led after three rounds. He, too, had a bogey at the 17th then, at the the last, he hit a bunker shot too thinly and needed a pitch-and-putt par to secure a play-off.

Payne's completed the first play-off hole, the 17th, in textbook fashion to secure a par four, while Gillner missed the green, pitched to 20 feet and missed the putt.

The victory lifted Payne into 10th place in the Ryder Cup points list. 'Playing in the Ryder Cup was always my target at the start of the season,' he said 'I felt that to qualify I might need to win one or two tournaments. Now I'm after that second win.'

David Jones, of England, finished third after equalling the course record of 64 set by Jose Maria Olazabal in 1988.