Golf: Woosnam completes amazing win: Cannes Open

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The Independent Online
IAN WOOSNAM recovered from being 14 shots off the lead after eight holes of the second round to win the Cannes Open by five strokes yesterday.

Woosnam, who was close to missing his first half-way cut in Europe for two years, added a 66 in the final round to his 63 on Saturday. Over the last 46 holes the 36-year-old Welshman had an eagle and 19 birdies for a tournament-record total of 271, 17 under par.

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie took second place, thanks to a 30-foot birdie putt on the last hole, while Jean Van de Velde, of France, and Australia's Wayne Riley shared third place.

For Woosnam, who chose to play at Cannes Mougins rather than this week's Benson and Hedges International at St Mellion, this was the 35th victory of his professional career. The 1991 Masters champion said: 'It's amazing how the game of golf changes around.

'I was 20 under for those last 48 holes and that's pretty good going by anyone's standard. It's a long time since I've played so well. Recently I've been standing there and just hoping it goes straight. Now I feel I've got control back.'

His practice sessions now continue at home: just before Christmas he put up a net in his loft. 'It's like a drug,' Woosnam said. 'I can't leave it alone and I'm swinging there every night.'

Woosnam went into the final round one ahead of his Ryder Cup team-mate, Montgomerie, and the pair were level after Woosnam drove into a divot hole at the fourth and had a bogey.

Yet that mishap appeared to act as a spur and soon he was crushing the challenge not only of last season's leading money-winner, but of everybody else too. Starting at the seventh he had six birdies in a row, then another on the 528- yard 14th. The run began when he two-putted the seventh and eighth, two more par-fives, and the other birdies came courtesy of putts of 18, four, 20, 12 and 15 feet.

Montgomerie had fallen behind Van de Velde and Riley with three to play, but he caught them with a four at the long 16th before his fine putt at the last.

'Second place was all I was going for after Woosie started going away,' Montgomerie said. 'It was a pleasure to watch him. It's nice that he's back.'

The win puts Woosnam third in the Order of Merit, behind Jose-Maria Olazabal and the South African Ernie Els.

CANNES OPEN (Cannes Mougins): Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 271 I Woosnam 72 70 63 66. 276 C Montgomerie 70 69 67 70. 277 J Van de Velde (Fr) 73 71 68 65; W Riley (Aus) 69 69 73 66. 278 P Fulke (Swe) 68 69 69 72. 281 S Luna (Sp) 69 69 76 67; T Johnstone (Zim) 69 69 74 69; R Claydon 72 67 73 69; P-U Johansson (Swe) 73 70 69 69; D Clarke 69 69 72 71; T Price (Aus) 69 71 70 71; S Torrance 65 68 76 72. 282 G Turner (NZ) 72 68 72 70; R Drummond 69 70 72 71; J Payne 72 68 69 73; R Karlsson (Swe) 67 71 70 74. 283 P Baker 72 71 70 70. 284 B Lane 68 71 75 70; F Lindgren (Swe) 70 74 70 70; S Grappasonni (It) 68 72 73 71; G Evans 69 70 70 75; G Brand Jnr 70 68 70 76. 285 D W Basson (SA) 74 69 74 68; I Garrido (Sp) 75 68 73 69; K Eriksson (Swe) 70 74 70 71; P O'Malley (Aus) 72 69 72 72. 286 J Lomas 75 69 75 67; A Gillner (Swe) 70 74 73 69; H Clark 70 69 76 71; G Orr 69 71 75 71; P Hedblom (Swe) 72 71 72 71; R Davis (Aus) 71 69 74 72; D Gilford 71 71 72 72. 287 C Rocca (It) 70 71 76 70; A Coltart 68 71 76 72; B Marchbank 70 71 72 74; J Robinson 66 74 72 75; M Campbell (NZ) 74 69 69 75; D Smyth 73 68 70 76; J Townsend (US) 68 69 71 79.

VOLVO EUROPEAN TOUR Order of Merit: 1 J M Olazabal (Sp) pounds 88,225.37; 2 E Els (SA) pounds 83,100; 3 I Woosnam (Wal) pounds 80,000; 4 D Gilford (Eng) pounds 78,657.79; 5 P Eales (Eng) pounds 77,679.39; 6 H Clark (Eng) pounds 73,888.22; 7 P Hedblom (Swe) pounds 71,191.86; 8 A Forsbrand (Swe) pounds 69,940; 9 C Mason (Eng) pounds 66,946.56; 10 J Payne (Eng) pounds 63,733.27.

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