Golf: Spence creates stuff of dreams

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Jamie Spence came from 10 shots behind to win his first European Tour event in remarkable style in the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre yesterday.

He produced a record final round of 60, watched Anders Forsbrand birdie the last five holes to force a play-off and then beat him at the second extra hole.

The 29-year-old from Tunbridge Wells won the pounds 93,859 first prize in the first counting event for places in next September's Ryder Cup team by sinking a 20-foot putt at the 377-yard 18th. He had earlier played the closing six holes in seven under par with an eagle and five birdies.

That gave him an inward 29 for a 17-under-par total of 271 and made him only the seventh player in European Tour history to score 60. Four have achieved the feat since the start of July, but Spence's score is the first on a par-72 course. Nobody has ever shot 12-under for a single round on the Tour before.

Spence, twice a runner-up before, said: 'I'm delighted after a lot of near misses. I'm not thinking about the Ryder Cup yet - that's a year away. But this is the best possible start.

'I've been putting well all week, but that winning putt in the play- off was probably going four feet past.'

For stunning finishes, only Australian Peter O'Malley's two eagles and three birdies in five holes at the Scottish Open two months ago can better Spence's run.

He was only one under par for the first four holes of his round, making putts of 10, four, 20 and four feet to turn in 31. Even when further birdies came on the short 13th and long 14th, he looked to have only an outside chance. What followed, though, was the stuff of dreams.

A 25-foot eagle putt on the 520- yard 15th dropped, followed by a wedge to five feet and sand-wedge to 15 feet. On the last - a hole he had a double-bogey on in the third round - he pitched up to 15 feet again and saw the ball curl in for an inward half of 29.

The man on the receiving end at Gleneagles, Colin Montgomerie, was the one who suffered again most yesterday. The Ryder Cup team-member was six clear of the field when he started the three remaining holes of his third round at 8.15 am. He took three putts at the 17th, then, four hours later, began the last round with further bogeys on the second, third and fourth.

Montgomerie, who had led since a producing a personal-best 63 on the opening day, found an inward 33 was not good enough. He had to settle for third place, one ahead of his fellow Scot, Sandy Lyle, who eagled the 14th and 15th and birdied the 16th.

Jim Payne finished eighth after knocking three shots off his personal best with a 63 - an effort that was almost totally eclipsed.

CANON EUROPEAN MASTERS (Crans-sur- Sierre) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 271 J Spence 67 71 73 60; A Forsbrand (Swe) 68 70 68 65 (Spence won after second extra hole). 272 C Montgomerie 63 70 68 71. 274 S Lyle 71 70 66 67. 275 P-U Johansson (Swe) 68 68 74 65; S Struver (Ger) 68 72 67 68; J Rivero (Sp) 64 73 69 69. 276 J Payne 69 72 72 63. 277 R Lee 69 71 70 67; M Lanner (Swe) 68 68 70 71. 278 P Price 67 75 69 67; S Grappasonni (It) 69 70 69 70; J-M Canizares (Sp) 67 69 71 71. 279 B Longmuir 71 70 70 68; M James 66 75 70 68; R Claydon 69 71 68 71; G Cali (It) 67 67 72 73; P Fowler (Aus) 66 72 68 73. 280 B Langer (Ger) 72 68 72 68; M Miller 69 69 73 69; S Torrance 70 72 68 70. 281 M Farry (Fr) 70 72 73 66; S Bennett 69 71 73 68; G Levenson (SA) 70 71 72 68; J Robinson 70 72 70 69; M Hallberg (Swe) 68 71 71 71; S Luna (Sp) 69 71 69 72. 282 E Romero (Arg) 69 70 75 68; B Lane 69 71 73 69. 283 I Palmer (SA) 72 68 74 69; D Silva (Por) 69 71 74 69; G Brand Jnr 72 70 70 71; S Ballesteros (Sp) 72 69 71 71; M Pinero (Sp) 73 69 70 71; P Hall 67 72 71 73.

VOLVO EUROPEAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT (GB or Irl unless stated): 1 N Faldo pounds 465,319.60; 2 A Forsbrand (Swe) pounds 364,806.39; 3 J-M Olazabal (Sp) pounds 297,126.77; 4 T Johnstone (Zim) pounds 275,247.06; 5 C Montgomerie

pounds 274,727.86; 6 B Langer (Ger) pounds 265,747.66; 7 V Singh (Fiji) pounds 245,291.57; 8 J Spence pounds 236,145.68; 9 J Rivero (Sp) pounds 213,231.24; 10 G Brand Jnr pounds 203,999.32,

EUROPEAN RYDER CUP POINTS TABLE (GB or Irl unless stated): 1 J Spence 93,859pts; 2 A Forsbrand (Swe) 62,535; 3 C Montgomerie 35,267; 4 S Lyle 28,169; 5= S Struver (Ger), P-U Johansson (Swe), J Rivero (Sp) 20,169; 8 J Payne 14,084; 9= R Lee, M Lanner (Swe) 11,943; 11= S Grappasonni (It), J-M Canizares (Sp), P Price 9,708.

Comments