Monday, June 08, 2009

Woosnam wins in Ireland

Ian Woosnam toasted yet more success in Ireland after defeating Bob Boyd in a play-off to win his third European Senior Tour title in the Irish Seniors Open in association with Fáilte Ireland and AIB Bank. The former World Number One, who won the Irish Open in 1988 and 1989 and led Europe to Ryder Cup glory at The K Club in 2006, birdied the third extra hole after finishing tied with American Boyd on two under par 211 in regulation play at Ballybunion Golf Club. Having started the final round a staggering six shots behind leader Roger Chapman, Woosnam fired a superb 67 – the joint lowest round of the week – to cap a remarkable turnaround having begun the week with his clubs not turning up at the airport and a double bogey on the last hole in his first round for a 74. It looked certain that Woosnam had sealed the title on the first extra hole when Boyd found the bunker but the American made a superb up and down, holing a 16ft par putt. They then halved the 18th hole in par again to go back to the tee a third time but Woosnam holed a four foot birdie putt to land the first prize of €52,500 after Boyd’s five footer drifter agonisingly past the cup. The victory, which followed his wins in Poland and Russia en route to winning the John Jacobs Trophy in 2008, moves the Welshman to second in the Order of Merit behind fellow former Ryder Cup Captain Mark James. He becomes the third former Ryder Cup Captain to win on the Senior Tour this year following Sam Torrance in Barbados and James in Mallorca. “Ireland certainly is good to me,” said the 51 year old. “I’ve won two Irish Opens, the Senior Open now and, of course, the Ryder Cup in Ireland which I’ll never forget.” “I never thought I’d even be at the presentation after the first round. I was so disappointed coming of the course. I’d been working hard but not getting anything. “It’s just good that I could hit my two iron off the last. My irons got me through that play-off. “I’m absolutely thrilled with this win. I’ve been struggling along since the end of last year. “When I saw Roger go back to one under and I got to level par on the eighth I thought I was still in with a chance. I knew it was windy enough to shoot a good score. It’s nice to win in Ireland again and this will certainly help me on my way.” It was Boyd’s best finished since he won his only Senior Tour title in the Castellόn Costa Azahar Open de España Senior in 2005 and represents an emotional return to form having missed all of the 2006 and 2007 season to have treatment for leukemia. Chapman, meanwhile, once again missed out on his maiden Senior Tour title having also led by two strokes going into the final round on his debut in the Son Gual Mallorca Senior Open a month ago. He signed for a 74 to finish tied for third with Tony Johnstone who warmed up for the defence the defence of his Jersey Seniors Classic next week with a superb 67. “I played rubbish all day to be honest and if you mistakes on this course you get punished,” said the 50 year old. “I didn’t play well enough but then I found a bit of something on 13 and 14 and had chances on 17 and 18. “It’s another good finish. I would have taken two thirds before I started but I’m just very disappointed today.”


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