Broadhurst puts an end to decade of desperation

England's Paul Broadhurst won his first European Tour event for a decade after an extraordinary finish to the Portuguese Open.

Broadhurst thought his chance had disappeared when he bogeyed the final hole after driving into a bush to the left of the fairway. But in the group behind, the long-time leaders, Barry Lane and Paul Lawrie, made a mess of the 17th, Lane taking a bogey five and Lawrie, the former Open champion, a triple-bogey seven.

That still left Lane needing only to par the 18th to win, but the 44-year-old crashed to a quintuple-bogey nine after also driving into a bush. Attempting to hack out on to the fairway, Lane hit his second shot far too hard across the fairway to within a foot of the out of bounds fence.

From there he hit his third shot out of bounds and after taking a penalty drop for an unplayable lie, hit his sixth shot short of the green.

Lawrie still had a 12-foot birdie putt to force a play-off but contrived to leave it short, leaving Broadhurst to claim the £144,000 first prize for his first victory since the 1995 French Open.

A closing 67 gave the 39-year-old a 13-under total of 271, one ahead of Lawrie with Portugal's Jose-Filipe Lima chipping in for a birdie on the last to claim third. Lane had to settle for fifth place on eight under par after a closing 72.

"I thought I needed to birdie the 16th and par the last two holes," said a stunned Broadhurst. "I just wanted to set some sort of score but I was relying on Barry or Paul to make a mess of a hole somewhere along the way.

"When I drove into the bush on the 18th I thought that was it but as I was signing my card I saw Barry had driven into trouble. I still expected him to make a five and I was thinking about a play-off. You don't wish what happened to him on anyone. I've done it myself enough times."

Lane himself also won his first tournament for 10 years last season and was remarkably philosophical about his disastrous finish.

"My second shot came out beautifully and the next one hit a root in front of me and went out of bounds," said the former Ryder Cup player. "Then we didn't know how many shots I'd had! It's just one of those things. I played beautifully all week and hit one loose shot and get absolutely crucified, but that's golf."

Broadhurst, who was one of six players forced to complete their third rounds yesterday due to Saturday's rain delays at the Quinta da Marinha course, began the final round two off the lead and looked out of contention after making bogeys at the third and fifth.

But, while all the attention was focused on playing partners Lane and Lawrie in the final group, the Midlander picked up birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth and four more on the back nine to keep in touch with the leaders.

Broadhurst, who won both his matches in the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island, suffered a serious hand injury in Dubai which kept him out for almost the whole of 2000, and lost his card the following season.

"You keep plugging away hoping it's going to be your turn," added Broadhurst, who regained his playing rights in 2003 and finished 44th on the Order of Merit last year.

"My wife asked me last night 'Do you think you can win?' and I said probably not because of the way I was swinging it.

"When I've won before my game has been in top order but on Wednesday I was really struggling and went out there with no expectations. Since 2000 it's been a real roller-coaster but there have been signs the last couple of years that things are improving.

"To win is a big weight off my shoulders. I can plan the year properly now. For the last five or six years it's all been about getting my card [playing rights]."

Lawrie, who was seeking his first win since 2002 to improve his lowly world ranking of 346th, was also left to rue one poor shot -- in his case the tee shot into trees on the 17th which led to a triple-bogey seven.

"I played well and holed no putts at all and really should have been more ahead than I was," said the 36-year-old from Aberdeen, who would have lost his card last season but for his 10-year exemption for winning at Carnoustie in 1999.

"When you miss those kinds of chances it tends to catch up with you which is what happened. It was obviously not a good finish but overall it was a good week for me."

* The Americans Billy Mayfair and Jason Allred topped the leaderboard at the rain-battered BellSouth Classic yesterday as first-round play was finally completed and the second round got under way.

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