Goosen engulfed by Garcia's late surge

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The Independent Online

Just as Retief Goosen looked to be defending a title successfully for the first time, Sergio Garcia stole the Lancome Trophy away from the South African. Under the circumstances, Garcia's celebration as he tapped in for victory here at the last was appropriately understated but at least one of the more sombre weeks on the European Tour ended with a huge smile from the 21-year-old Spaniard.

Garcia birdied four of the last six holes to give himself a chance of winning when the opportunity seemed lost. But he also needed some help from Goosen, who suddenly bogeyed the last two when he had not dropped a shot for 34 holes over the weekend.

Perhaps the biggest gallery seen at St Nom-la-Bretêche was present. They had been induced to buy tickets for the event when Tiger Woods committed to play. Woods pulled out after the recent atrocities in America but as the European Tour resumed here, the final round soon developed into a duel between Goosen, the US Open champion and runaway leader of the Order of Merit, and Garcia.

After two victories in the States this summer, Garcia has risen to seventh in the world rankings. But this was his first win in Europe for two years, since he won twice in his rookie season in 1999. "It was great to win but more than anything the show Retief and I put on was amazing," said Garcia. ''This is my last event in Europe this season so it is nice to finish with a victory. After all that has happened in America and here in Toulouse this week [where a chemical plant exploded], it meant a lot to win and dedicate the win to the victims and their families.''

Goosen appeared in control of the destiny of the title after making five birdies in a row around the turn. He was then four ahead of Garcia, a situation that remained with four holes to play.

As Garcia had fallen further behind, his waggling of the club in the address position became even more pronounced and painful to watch. Nevertheless, his play remained unaffected and, from the 15th hole, the Spaniard made three birdie putts in a row from around 15 feet. The first hardly seemed to matter but when he went two behind with two to play, Goosen must have felt he was suddenly back in a contest.

The South African drove into the trees at the 17th and, although he found the front of the green, he was left with a long approach putt of 35 yards. He put it five feet past and missed the one back.

Goosen, of course, three-putted the last hole at Southern Hills to lose the chance of winning the US Open in regulation. In the play-off, and also at the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond a month later, he bogeyed the last two holes but on neither occasion did it matter as he was too far ahead to be caught. Now he was level with Garcia playing the par-three 18th and pulled his six-iron tee shot just enough to find the bunker on the left of the green. It was not a good lie, the ball plugged in the sand, and he came out 18 feet past the hole. His par-putt had every chance of falling into the hole but spun out the front door.

Garcia, 15 feet away on the fringe, safely two-putted for a one-shot win. His final round was a 65 for a total of 18-under while Goosen had a 67. "The key shot was the tee shot on the 17th, that opened the door,'' Goosen said. "Although I made all those birdies in a row, I was struggling with my swing all day and Sergio played very well coming in."

* John Daly has confirmed he will play in the German Masters in Cologne from 4 to 7 October and in the World Match Play Championship at Wentworth the following week. Daly said that he would play the two events despite fears that many players have expressed about flying in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September. Daly had earlier declared his intention of playing in Cologne after his victory in the BMW International in Munich early this month.

LANCOME TROPHY LEADING FINAL SCORES

(St-Nom-la-Bretêche, Paris) GB or Irl unless stated: 266 S Garcia (Sp) 68 65 68 65 (£150;000). 267 R Goosen (SA) 64 71 65 67 (£100;000). 269 J Hugo (SA) 66 68 69 66 (£56;340). 271 G Emerson 66 70 66 69 (£45;000). 272 N Fasth (Swe) 69 66 66 71 (£38;160). 273 R Jacquelin (Fr) 68 71 68 66; A Wall 68 65 70 70. 274 T Immelman (SA) 70 72 67 65; I Woosnam 68 71 69 66; H Nystrom (Swe) 70 66 69 69; 275 S Webster 66 68 71 70; A Scott (Aust) 69 70 65 71; P Price 70 67 66 72. 276 M Mouland 75 67 69 65; S Struver (Ger) 69 68 70 69; G Storm 71 65 69 71; D Lynn 70 71 64 71; SP Webster 67 68 69 72; A Coltart 66 71 66 73. 277 G Owen 68 70 73 66; J Bickerton 68 71 71 67; R Johnson (Swe) 70 72 67 68. 278 J Lomas 69 71 70 68; R Claydon 68 73 69 68; M Mackenzie 69 70 70 69; P Eales 69 70 69 70; D Carter 72 67 68 71; D Robertson 69 71 66 72; M Brier (Aust) 73 66 67 72. 279 P Nyman (Swe) 74 67 73 65; J Moseley (Aust) 71 71 70 67; G Orr 66 73 71 69; M Roe 66 66 75 72; M McNulty (Zim) 71 68 68 72; C Cevaer (Fr) 73 67 67 72; A Cabrera (Arg) 72 68 67 72; J Berendt (Arg) 69 68 68 74. 280 T Levet (Fr) 68 72 71 69; E Canonica (It) 72 67 71 70; D Borrego (Sp) 70 71 69 70; F Andersson (Swe) 71 68 70 71; S Luna (Sp) 71 68 68 73. 281 V Phillips 70 68 72 71; B Rumford (Aus) 70 72 69 70; J Haeggman (Swe) 69 71 70 71; S Gardiner (Aus) 66 73 70 72; G Rankin 69 72 68 72; J Rivero (Spa) 71 71 67 72. 282 J Robinson 71 69 75 67; P Baker 67 72 71 72; P Hanson (Swe) 71 68 69 74; M Scarpa (It) 69 72 67 74; R Coles 67 70 69 76. 283 C Suneson (Spa) 69 72 72 70; M Lundberg (Swe) 66 73 73 71; B Dredge 71 71 70 71; R Karlsson (Swe) 67 72 72 72; E Simsek (Ger) 69 72 70 72; J Van de Velde (Fr) 70 69 71 73; E Romero (Arg) 67 72 69 75; S Dyson 69 68 70 76; F Jacobson (Swe) 71 67 68 77; 284 G Brand Jnr 71 69 71 73; A Oldcorn 71 67 72 74.

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