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Scotland's Paul Lawrie recovered from three early bogeys to win the Open de Andalucia de Golf by a single shot from Johan Edfors of Sweden. It was Lawrie's first European Tour victory since 2002.
Lawrie began the final round one shot clear of Englishmen Kenny Ferrie and Mark Foster. Ferrie had played himself into contention with a European Tour record-equalling 60 in the third round.
But the tables were quickly turned at the very start of the last round. In extremely blustery conditions, Lawrie made back-to-back bogeys at his first two holes while Foster opened with two birdies. That meant the Scot had gone from one ahead to three behind.
Foster saw his lead cut as he made three straight bogeys from the 4th then Lawrie made his move after the turn, carding three consecutive birdies from the 10th. With those he moved, once again, to the top of the leaderboard. Foster was unable to strike back and he finished with a 72 and a tie for fourth.
Kenny Ferrie never got it going on the final day and four bogeys on his front nine took him out of the running. A double bogey at the 15th and a five on the home hole saw him drop way back. He finished tied 11th.
With five birdies in eight holes from the 7th, Sweden's Johan Edfors emerged as Lawrie's closest challenger. He briefly tied the Scot at the head of the field after making a birdie at the par-5 14th. But Lawrie, playing in the final group, birdied the same hole to move one ahead again.
When Edfors made a bogey at the 15th, Lawrie's lead was two and that was how it remained until the closing hole. The former Open champion played conservatively from the tee with a 3-wood before pushing his approach shot into the greenside bunker. He splashed out well and was left with two putts from five feet to take the title. He used them both and secured his first European Tour victory since the Welsh Open of 2002.
"It's been a long time - 2002 seems a hell of a time ago," said Lawrie. "I've had a few second places in there, but all of a sudden we're there again. It was going pear-shaped a little bit, but you've just got to keep going - that's all you can do."
Open de Andalucia de Golf by Turkish Airlines Parador de Malaga Golf, Malaga, Spain Mar 24-27, purse €1,000,000 par 70
1 Paul Lawrie (Sco) 66 67 65 70 268 €166,660 2 Johan Edfors (Swe) 65 71 65 68 269 €111,110 3 Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 67 69 66 68 270 €62,600 T4 Jeppe Huldahl (Den) 66 66 72 67 271 €42,466 T4 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 68 69 65 69 271 €42,466 T4 Mark Foster (Eng) 67 67 65 72 271 €42,466 7 Christian Nilsson (Swe) 68 69 67 68 272 €30,000 T8 Florian Fritsch (Ger) 66 68 69 70 273 €22,466 T8 Hennie Otto (RSA) 68 68 67 70 273 €22,466 T8 Jose Manuel Lara (Esp) 67 70 65 71 273 €22,466
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?