Golf: Struver happy to follow Langer

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Sven Struver, of Germany, yesterday landed the Dutch Open at Hilversum by three strokes to follow in the footsteps of his idol and compatriot, Bernhard Langer. Struver began a windy final round sharing a two-shot lead with the Englishman Russell Claydon, but a second eagle by the German, who holed a 20-foot putt on the long 12th, opened up a three-stroke advantage which he held until the end.

Struver's five-under-par 66 for an 18-under 269 gave him his second European Tour victory, leaving Claydon with his sixth runners-up finish in professional events, and his third on the European Tour.

A 69 by Claydon left him two ahead of his compatriot Roger Chapman and Angel Cabrera, of Argentina, with another Argentinian, Jose Coceres, and England's Richard Boxall a further stroke back.

Coceres lifted himself up the field with the third albatross of the European Tour season when he hit a four-iron second shot 210 yards for his ball to find the cup on the par-five fifth. Another spectacular shot came from the Spaniard Pedro Linhart, whose eight-iron found the cup for a hole- in-one on the 13th to earn himself a bicycle. A car was on offer two holes later.

However, it was a putt which proved the most important shot of the day, Struver's 25-footer for eagle on the long 12th. It virtually ended Claydon's chances of catching him, enabling the German to add his name to the Dutch trophy with Langer's, who won this event in 1984 and 1992.

"Obviously it was the turning-point," said Struver, who included an eagle on the fourth and two birdies, one at the last. "I just had to be steady after that. I'm really proud of the way I finished and proud to shoot four rounds in the 60s, which I don't think I've done before, but most of all I'm proud to have my name on a trophy which has Bernhard Langer's name on it twice."

The son of a Hamburg golf professional, Struver came to the fore on the European Tour when his 62 briefly gave him the 1989 German Open lead while an amateur. However, his most significant feat before the Dutch success was his 63 in the final round of the European Tour-sanctioned South African PGA Championship last year to deny Ernie Els victory on home soil.

Scores, Digest, page 23