Langer's easy cruise home

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Bernhard Langer led from the start to gain a ninth European Tour victory in his native Germany as he won the Deutsche Bank Open title in Hamburg yesterday with an 18-under-par 270.

Langer shot a last-round 69 to beat Britain's Jamie Spence by six shots and Sweden's Mats Lanner by seven. It was Langer's 33rd tour victory, his 45th worldwide and his second win in a row after taking the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago.

He extended his own tour record of successive halfway cuts to 58, went back to the top of the Order of Merit and took over the lead from Severiano Ballesteros in the Ryder Cup points table.

Last night he flew to America to compete in the US Open at Shinnecock Hills, New York on Thursday and said: "I don't know why I played so well this week because I have felt awful. But I have won my last two tournaments and if I can keep my game in the same sort of shape, I might have a chance."

Langer insists he will not change his schedule to play in more tournaments and safeguard his position at the top of the Order of Merit. "If I finish second, third or fourth, as I have in the past five years, so be it. I shall not overdo it, whatever the situation," he said.

Spence shot 69 in the third round and 70 yesterday to have his best finish for more than two years. "I've worked so hard this year and this week has made all the work worthwhile," he said.

Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam were disappointed with their showing. Montgomerie shot 72 to finish on 285, while Woosnam ended on 287 but had the consolation of a 67, his best round of the week.

Scores, Sporting Digest page 21