Cabrera takes shine off Europe's preparations

Argentinian collects first victory outside South America as Ryder Cup players miss chance to boost team morale
Click to follow
The Independent Online

So there was no victory for a member of Europe's Ryder Cup team who will take on the Americans here in September, as Colin Montgomerie hoped. Monty gave himself a chance on the final day before being undone by the Brabazon Course's two magnificent matchplay holes, the 10th and the 18th.

Padraig Harrington was also in the shake-up but, like Montgomerie, bogeyed the last. There was no redemption for two years ago when the Irishman led by five with a round to play when it was discovered that while there were two signatures on his card for the first round, neither of them were Harrington's.

The one that should not have been there belonged to Michael Campbell and the Kiwi was also tied for the lead in the latter stages but a bogey five at the last, couple with a triple bogey seven at the same hole on Saturday, left him short.

For Barry Lane, conquering the 18th hole yesterday might have provided some salvation for losing a crucial singles match to Chip Beck in the 1993 Ryder Cup. But having led, or shared the lead, for much of the final round and bravely making a par at the last, Lane finished a shot behind a winner who quietly went about his business to claim his first win in Europe.

Angel Cabrera, the 32-year-old who is known as "El Pato" ("The Duck") in his home town of Cordoba, won the Argentinian Open on the European Tour last year but had not previously won outside South America. Cabrera is one of the biggest hitting players in world golf – there was a reason why he was paired with John Daly for the first two rounds here – and has finished ninth and 10th in the last two US Masters.

Cabrera's round of 69 left him at 10 under par. Lane, the overnight leader who moved three clear after four holes, fought hard for a 73, while Montgomerie, Harrington, both after 69s, and Campbell, after a 70, finished at eight under.

Cabrera speaks little English. "Es un momento muy importante," needed little translation. His interpreter added: "Winning one of the best tournaments in Europe makes Angel think this is the start of some great things. It is very valuable to win against a strong field, at the course of the Ryder Cup and with the big crowds in England."

The drama built slowly at first. When Lane bogeyed the eighth he was caught for the first time as Cabrera birdied the ninth to be out in 34. The Argentinian birdied the 10th but quickly dropped the shot at the next. Montgomerie and Harrington moved into contention but the Irishman failed to birdie the par-five 17th, missing from eight feet for a four, and then three-putting the last.

Lane sneaked ahead with a birdie at the par-five 15th but three-putted the 16th as Cabrera birdied the 17th. The last is a par-four of 473 yards with two carries over water. Cabrera drove safely but pulled his second shot. It just made it over the pond but finished in the crowd, nearer the ninth pin than the 18th. After a free drop from a plastic bag, Cabrera played a brilliant chip and tapped in for his par.

Lane was all-square with Beck coming to the last nine years ago but drove into the bunker to the right of the fairway. From there he hit a three-iron into the water. He was in the bunker again yesterday but carried the pond with a three-wood. He still needed to chip the length of the green, up a couple of tiers, and though he holed the seven-footer back, it was not quite enough.

"The 16th was the main error," Lane, who has not won on tour since 1994, said. "Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the week and I'm not too disappointed."

Though the tee at the short par-four 10th was moved up 50 yards for the weekend, so the hole measured a tempting 261 yards, Montgomerie laid up for the fourth successive day. But having missed the fairway with a nine-iron, he got a flier from the rough with his wedge approach. The ball finished down the bank behind the green and he then pitched into the stream on the other side.

After a double bogey six, Montgomerie responded with birdies at four of the next six holes, holing from 20 feet from the back fringe at the 17th to join a tie for the lead at nine under. But at the top of his backswing on his drive at the last, he was interrupted by the sound of the PA announcer at the 18th green introducing Nick Faldo to the crowd.

He came off the shot and the ball finished in the rough on the right of the fairway. He had to lay up and missed from 20 feet for his par. "In one sense it is encouraging, especially the number of putts I hole down the stretch," Montgomerie said. "But obviously it is disappointing as well. I laid up every day at the 10th and played the hole in three over for the week so that was the tournament there and then."

FINAL SCORES AT THE BELFRY (GB or Irl unless stated)

278 A Cabrera (Arg) 68 73 68 69. 279 B Lane 69 72 65 73. 280 C Montgomerie 71 67 73 69; P Harrington 71 70 70 69; M Campbell (NZ) 70 69 71 70. 281 P Baker 71 68 70 72. 282 S Webster 73 68 74 67; P Fowler (Aus) 71 69 73 69. 283 J Daly (US) 70 69 74 70; G Owen 66 72 70 75. 284 T Gillis (US) 72 72 73 67; O Karlsson (Swe) 78 68 70 68; N Faldo 72 72 69 71; R Wessels (SA) 69 69 73 73; P Price 71 70 70 73; D Lynn 73 70 68 73. 285 D Drysdale 71 69 77 68; R Jacquelin (Fr) 71 70 72 72. 286 A Scott (Aus) 74 71 76 65; R Green (Aus) 73 69 77 67; R Goosen (SA) 73 72 73 68; P Senior (Aus) 71 72 71 72; D Carter 68 78 69 71. 287 C Wi (S Kor) 70 74 76 67; I Woosnam 67 72 78 70; R Muntz (Neth) 71 71 75 70; P Lawrie 73 70 73 71; J M Singh (India) 70 74 72 71; B Langer (Ger) 72 70 73 72; M Mackenzie 72 70 72 73; I Poulter 70 75 70 72. 288 S Little 71 73 77 67; R Russell 73 71 74 70; S Scahill (NZ) 72 71 74 71; M Hoey 73 73 70 72; E Romero (Arg) 71 72 72 73; A Forsyth 71 72 72 73; S Torrance 72 72 71 73; C Pettersson (Swe) 73 71 71 73; J-F Remesy (Fr) 72 73 70 73. 289 R Johnson (Swe) 73 70 77 69; G Orr 74 71 74 70; B Dredge 74 70 73 72; D Lee 70 71 74 74; P O'Malley (Aus) 70 70 73 76. 290 J Bickerton 72 68 80 70; R Claydon 71 74 74 71; D Gilford 73 73 72 72; R Bland 75 69 74 72; S Kjeldsen (Den) 75 70 71 74. 291 T Bjorn (Den) 71 70 80 70; T Immelman (SA) 72 71 75 73; S Luna (Sp) 72 70 75 74; N O'Hern (Aus) 77 68 71 75; E Canonica (It) 75 71 70 75; A Wall 68 71 75 77. 292 J M Olazabal (Sp) 74 72 77 69; B Davis 73 73 73 73; G Evans 71 74 73 74; H Stenson (Swe) 73 73 71 75. 294 L Parsons (Aus) 72 73 76 73; P Eales 72 72 76 74; M Foster 71 72 74 77. 295 M Pilkington 75 70 81 69; S Lyle 69 74 74 78. 296 J Sandelin (Swe) 69 77 76 74; D Smyth 73 70 77 76. 297 A Marshall 74 72 77 74; I Garbutt 70 76 75 76; M Vide-Hastrup (Den) 72 73 74 78. 298 B Teilleria (Fr) 75 71 73 79. 300 E Darcy 75 71 80 74; C Rodiles (Sp) 73 72 76 79. 302 J M Lara (Sp) 73 73 79 77. 304 M Roe 73 71 76 84.

Comments