Woosnam blows hot

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The Independent Online
The Oxfordshire Part 2 - the nightmare returns. Two-month-old memories of the final round of the Benson and Hedges International were revived as Ian Woosnam won his third Scottish Open title at Carnoustie yesterday. After the relative calm of the third round, a breeze that not even the locals could describe as "wee" bent flagsticks but not the Welshman's will. The bagpipes may have played, but there was no home victory.

A final-round 75 was good enough for a four-shot victory over Andrew Coltart. The young Scot, who lost a play-off to Woosnam in Singapore in January, hung on for a 74 while the challenge of another local, Colin Montgomerie, failed to arrive after he dropped six shots in three holes around the turn. Montgomerie finished with an 81, three shots better than in the B&H, but was 10 shots back.

Woosnam held a five-stroke lead when he birdied the third hole, but was penalised for continually finding the rough with five dropped shots in the next eight holes. An eagle at the 504-yard 12th, where he hit a drive and a six-iron to 12 feet, re-established his advantage. "It is great to win again," said Woosnam after his third victory this season. "Before I went out, I thought a 76 would be good enough to win. It was a tough day - a game of patience."

Mats Hallberg, of Sweden, briefly tied Woosnam at two over, though he was not aware of it before he finished with four bogeys in a row. Hallberg earned one of the automatic Open Championship qualifying spots for his third place, along with Lee Westwood, Diego Borrego and Malcolm Mackenzie. Andrew Sherborne took the last place after a play-off with Silvio Grappasonni and Russell Claydon.

At the 11th hole Montgomerie took three to get back on to the fairway after driving into the rough and took a triple-bogey seven. Europe's No 1 had been striding along with eight consecutive pars to start, then he had a double-bogey at the ninth, via rough and sand, and was through the back at the 10th which cost another dropped shot. With the wind and the sunshine, the greens had quickened up to 11 on the stimpmeter and, downwind, stopping the ball on the greens became another problem.

The last time a European tour event was won with an over-par score, was Sandy Lyle's two over at the Open in 1985. Matters did not get as bad as at the Pringle of Scotland tournament, at Carnoustie, in 1964 when Harold Henning won on 297. Since the rough withered away when the course was in decline a decade ago, fertilisers have been used to bring it back up to considerable effect.

"Conditions became very, very difficult," Montgomerie said. "It was almost too windy and the course became very hard. The tournament deserved better. Anyone who played today will be destroyed for next week. My swing is destroyed and I have no confidence."

For those players not exempt for this week's Open Championship, the majority of the 71 playing yesterday, finishing the tortuous journey that has been the four circumnavigations of the Carnoustie course meant another similar ordeal lay in store. Out of the car park streamed golfers heading for the M74 and the M6, and this morning's final qualifying at four courses near Royal Lytham.

For all the disappointment of missing the cut, those who did would have had two days to recover. Andrew Collison, a 27-year-old from King's Lynn, plays at Fairhaven at 10.20am today, with his most recent visit to a course being yesterday's 88, in which he dropped nine shots in the last five holes. He finished 32 over par for the tournament.

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