Golf; Torrance's experience sees him to 21st victory

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The Independent Online
SAM TORRANCE ended a three-year wait for his 21st European Tour title when he birdied the last two holes to return a two-under-par 70 yesterday to win the French Open in a tight finish at Guyancourt, west of Paris.

The 44-year-old Scot led after every round to finish on an aggregate 12-under overall at 276, but he was hard pressed to secure a cheque for pounds 133,000 that lifted him to 14th place on the European money list and almost certainly earned him exemption into this year's British Open.

Torrance, in his 28th year on the tour, shed a tear as he lifted the trophy. "It was the emotion of winning again after three years," he said. "But I always knew I'd win again. I'm strong and fit and young at heart and I may just go on to win a few more."

As a pack of five players closed in on victory over the last nine holes, it seemed that this one would escape Torrance, but as he said, "a quarter of a century on tour certainly helps in those situations".

A play-off looked odds-on after Torrance bogeyed the 15th, leaving him in a four-way tie for the lead, but then he produced the shot of the final round, a seven-wood approach to 12 inches, to birdie the 17th. That put him one ahead hole he made the green with his second despite being in the right rough and two putts sealed victory.

Italy's Massimo Florioli and the Frenchman Olivier Edmond both fired final-round 67s to tie for second on 278, alongside Germany's Bernhard Langer, who returned a 69 after his putting let him down over the closing holes, and the Australian Mathew Goggin, who shot 70.

The New Zealander Michael Campbell, who had joined Torrance in the lead overnight, fell away with a 75 over the 7,112-yard course to share of 11th place on 281.

Results, Digest, page 26

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