Drysdale's late blunder hands title to Kjeldsen

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The Independent Online

Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen won his third European Tour title when he won the Andalucia Open by three shots from the Briton David Drysdale yesterday.

A closing level-par 72 in a tense finale at the Real Club for a 14-under-par 274 earned Kjeldsen, 33, the $225,000 (£157,000) first prize. Britain's Graeme Storm (69) and Italy's Francesco Molinari (70) shared third place a further stroke back.

The winning margin flattered Kjeldsen because the pair were locked together until the short but formidable 17th hole. There was a two-shot swing when Drysdale, looking for his maiden tour title, found the greenside bunker to bogey while Kjeldsen birdied by running in a second successive 20ft putt.

The Dane had holed from a similar length on the long 16th to save par after finding the water with his approach to stay on level terms with Drysdale. When Drysdale sent his approach into the lake at 18th he had to work hard to only make double-bogey for a 74 and take second spot on his own, equalling his best tour finish.

Kjeldsen was delighted with to have found form, especially ahead of his US. Masters debut in under two weeks' time. "It was a tough day, I felt nervous and not 100 per cent comfortable," Kjeldsen, who called his water shot at 16 "horrific", said. "I was starting to give it away and I had to grit my teeth and dig deep. It was great to make those putts on 16 and 17.

"When David did what he did then the tension went out of me. I made a lot of putts this week... [and] I'm pleased with my whole game with the Masters coming up."

The win ensured that the 54th-ranked Dane would re-enter the top 50. Drysdale, who had to settle for equalling his runner-up finish at the 2006 Russian Open, said: "I'm very disappointed with my finish but I knew it was all or nothing in the end and had to at least make birdie."