Golf: Sheehan sweeps to Open double

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The Independent Online
Patty Sheehan, the US Open champion, won the Weetabix British Open here yesterday to became the first player to hold both titles in the same year. .

Sheehan took the championship in style with a final round of 67, a record for the Duke's course. She finished three strokes clear of the Australian Corinne Dibnah, with a 12-under-par aggregate of 207, to collect the pounds 50,000 winner's cheque.

'I am so excited at winning because I only found out that I could play here last Monday,' Sheehan said. 'Seeing the crowds down the last hole brought a tear to my eye and I was really fired up when I discovered that no one had won the two Opens in the same year before.'

Sheehan had started the final round one stroke behind Dibnah and they exchanged a flurry of birdies from the opening hole. Dibnah, the 1988 winner, had four birdies in her first six holes, while Sheehan rolled in a putt of 15 feet for a two at the short second, the first of three consecutive birdies. Both were out in 32 with Dibnah, now 10under, still one stroke clear of Sheehan.

Dibnah lost her advantage when she dropped a shot at the 12th and fell behind when Sheehan birdied the next hole. It was the first of a run of three in four holes which enabled Sheehan finally to shake off the Queenslander.

Sheehan struck an eight-iron to 12 feet for a birdie at the 15th andthen, after her three-iron to the 16th had stopped 30 feet from the hole, she rolled in the putt for another three.

'I knew then that I could only lose if I stumbled over the last two holes. I played chicken golf down the 18th where I hit a two-iron off the tee but all that I needed was a par five to win,' said Sheehan after the 28th tournament win of her career, two short of being inducted into the LPGA's exclusive Hall of Fame.

Laura Davies, who had high hopes of winning the title at the start of the championship, shot a closing round of 76 which was enough for her to win the Order of Merit title for a record third time since 1985.

WEETABIX WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP (Duke's Course, Woburn) Leading final scores (GB and Ire unless stated): 207 P Sheehan (US) 68 72 67; 210 C Dibnah (Aus) 70 69 71. 212 M L De Lorenzi (Fr) 71 71 70. 213 L Neumann (Swe) 69 74 70. 214 H Alfredsson (Swe) 74 72 68; P Rizzo (US) 72 70 72. 215 D Mochrie (US) 74 68 73. 216 S Strudwick 75 72 69, E Orley (Swit) 70 75 71; M Burstrom (Swe) 72 73 71; J Arnold (NZ) 70 74 72; F Descampe (Bel) 71 73 72. 218 P Wright 73 76 69; K Parker (US) 72 74 72; K Davies 75 70 73. 219 J Geddes (US) 78 69 72. 220 A Dibos (Peru) 75 75 70; V Michaud (Fr) 71 76 73; D Reid 73 73 74. Selected: 225 L Davies 73 76 76; A Nicholas 72 79 74.

EUROPEAN ORDER OF MERIT Leading positions: 1 L Davies (Eng) pounds 66,333.33; 2 H Alfredsson (Swe) pounds 55,900; 3 C Dibnah (Aus) pounds 53,211.75; 4 T Johnson (Eng) pounds 51,805; 5 M L De Lorenzi (Fr) pounds 34,921.75; 6 L Neumann (Swe) pounds 34,201.66.