Golf: Rocca triumphs in a French comedy of errors: Ryder Cup beckons Italian

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The Independent Online
COSTANTINO ROCCA moved a step nearer becoming the first Italian to play in the Ryder Cup when he won the Peugeot French Open in Paris yesterday with a bogey five at the first play-off hole.

It was the 36-year-old's second victory in nearly three months, but it could not have been more different from his first. Rocca, who shot a course record 63 to win by six strokes in Lyons in April, this time played out a comic finish with the Irishman Paul McGinley.

Rocca was two strokes ahead on the last tee, but took a double-bogey six after putting his second shot into a lake. McGinley had been giving television interviews, assuming he was going to finish second, but then had to gather himself for an unexpected chance to land his first European tour victory.

It was not to be, however, for the 26-year-old former Walker Cup player. When they went to the 399- yard 15th he found rough, chipped out, then went into water for a double-bogey six of his own.

Rocca hardly played the hole much better. His approach flew 40 yards past the flag, but he chipped to eight feet and was able to two-putt for a victory which takes him from 16th to seventh in the Ryder Cup table.

The pair had tied on 273, 11 under par, McGinley spoiling a great round with a bogey at the last hole for a 68. Rocca scored 70. Third for the second week running was Mark James, who finished on 10 under.

PEUGEOT FRENCH OPEN (Le Golf National, Paris): Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 273 C Rocca (It) 66 66 71 70; P McGinley 69 67 69 68 (Rocca won at first extra hole). 274 M James 69 69 68 68. 275 M Roe 67 71 67 70; A Forsbrand (Swe) 68 71 69 67. 276 J Townsend (US) 71 71 68 66; T Johnstone (Zim) 67 71 71 67; D Feherty 67 70 70 69; J Van de Velde (Fr) 67 64 73 72; J Rystrom (Swe) 66 70 67 73. 277 M Mackenzie 70 70 69 68; S Luna (Sp) 70 68 67 72; R Rafferty 69 69 69 70; G Orr 65 67 72 73. 278 V Fernandez (Arg) 72 70 69 67; M Harwood (Aus) 67 71 72 68; R Goosen (SA) 68 71 71 68; R Drummond 71 66 72 69; J M Olazabal (Sp) 71 66 72 69; P O'Malley (Aus) 66 69 70 73; E Els (SA) 69 68 71 70. 279 B Lane 70 67 74 68; A Hunter 69 72 68 70; H Clark 68 67 72 72. 280 M Poxon 72 70 72 66; P Mitchell 66 71 73 70; D Williams 64 73 72 71; F Nobilo (NZ) 69 69 71 71. 281 P Mayo 69 71 74 67; S McAllister 68 70 72 71; R Lee 69 70 71 71; M Pinero (Sp) 71 67 72 71; P Way 66 67 75 73; S Torrance 68 68 72 73.

VOLVO EUROPEAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT: 1 S Torrance pounds 255,558.27; 2 M James pounds 244,419.67; 3 C Rocca (It) pounds 222,953.98; 4 J Haeggman (Swe) pounds 200,014.17; 5 P Broadhurst pounds 184,292.61; 6 F Nobilo (NZ) pounds 182,906; 7 D Gilford pounds 181,842.64; 8 G Brand Jnr pounds 174,288.77; 9 C Montgomerie pounds 165,975.08, 10 G Turner (NZ) pounds 164,630.07.

EUROPEAN RYDER CUP (1pt for every pounds 1 won): 1 B Lane 337,347.75pts; 2 M James 317,842.08; 3 C Montgomerie 316,838.79; 4 B Langer (Ger) 309,041.48; 5 N Faldo 295,702.50; 6 S Torrance 285,765.95; 7 C Rocca (It) 267,185.25; 8 J Spence 228,650.31; 9 P Broadhurst (Eng) 225,929.28; 10 J Haeggman (Swe) 224,106.76; 11 G Brand Jnr 212,109.43.

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