Golf: Personal best puts Rocca in the mood

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The Independent Online
A closing 62, the lowest round of his life, gave the Italian Ryder Cup player Costantino Rocca victory at the Canon European Masters in Switzerland yesterday. With the overnight leader Nick Faldo managing only a 70 and dropping to sixth, his fellow 40-year-old Rocca gave his confidence a timely boost 19 days before facing the Americans at Valderrama.

Sixteen months on from his last win, in the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth, Rocca came from five shots behind for an 18-under-par total of 266 to capture the pounds 133,330 first prize by one stroke from Aberdeen's Scott Henderson and the Swede, Robert Karlsson.

Karlsson was seeking his second successive victory but missed a birdie chance from 15 feet on the final green and Henderson then missed from slightly closer.

Rocca, who started with a 10ft eagle putt then scored seven birdies in the next 14 holes, said: "I've not even shot that low playing with my friends. When I birdied the 15th I thought I could score 59." But three closing pars proved good enough for the former factory worker to celebrate his fourth European tour success.

Faldo's finish was disappointing, but in the week when he was named for a record 11th Ryder Cup cap he could still take some satisfaction. It came as no surprise when he blamed the greens, by common consent the worst ever seen on the European tour.

His trip to the Alps started paying dividends on Tuesday when he found what he hopes is "the missing link" in his game. The discovery came with a tiny video camera he bought his caddie Fanny Sunesson for her 30th birthday in July. "When I looked at my swing on it this week it leapt out at me that my head was moving so much," said Faldo. "Once I worked on that there was an immediate improvement."

After moving into the lead with a round to go, he described his form as the best since he won the Nissan Open in Los Angeles at the start of March.

Colin Montgomerie, equally vociferous in his opinion of the greens - he talked of walking out at halfway - finished five shots behind after two closing bogeys. "I've had enough," said the Scot. "This is not acceptable under any circumstances. I will find somewhere else to play next year." But, with Ulster's Darren Clarke joint sixth with Faldo after coming home in a one-over-par 36, Montgomerie returns to the No 1 spot in the Order of Merit.

Scores, Digest, page 23

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