Kjeldsen affirms Danish rise

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The Independent Online

Soren Kjeldsen became the fifth Danish golfer to win on the European tour in little more than a year here at Gleneagles yesterday. The 28-year-old won the Diageo Championship by two strokes from the Scot Alastair Forsyth and with the £200,000 first prize leaps into seventh place on this season's Order of Merit.

His success follows the victories last year by Anders and Soren Hansen, Thomas Bjorn and Steen Tinning to confirm Denmark as one of the emerging forces on a circuit which used to be dominated by British and Irish players.

Only 5ft 7in and 10st 7lb - and also only ranked 164th in the world - Kjeldsen produced a closing 72 to finish with a nine under par total of 279.

That was 17 more than the Australian Adam Scott took when he won by 10 shots last August, but that is largely explained by the ferocious winds on the first two days and some pretty ferocious rough too. The Londoner Chris Gane will testify to that. His 17 on the final hole in the second round was the second highest score in tour history - and four others hit double figures too.

Kjeldsen did marvellously well not to have a single double bogey all week, making 19 birdies and 10 bogeys. The 19th was the key. Having been brought back to only two in front, the World Cup player slotted in a 30ft putt on the short 14th.

He drove into a bunker on the 463-yard next, but pitched to three feet and, having missed from half that distance at the 12th, made it for the first of four pars that buried the hopes of those chasing him.

"It's fantastic," said Kjeldsen, whose wife Charlotte is expecting their first child in three months. "I can't ask for anything more."

Forsyth sank a 12ft birdie putt on the last to push England's former Ryder Cup player Paul Broadhurst into third and claim his best pay-day, £133,330. Colin Montgomerie was fourth the day before his 40th birthday.

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