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Friday, 19 March 2010
The 32-year-old Swede carded a closing 74 for 283, five under par, two shots clear of French duo, Thomas Levet and Christophe Pottier, who returned 70 and 73 respectively.

But the story of the final round centred on a strong wind which got up around lunchtime and posed all sorts of problems for those in the top half of the field, not to mention the leaders.

It meant that the already testing Is Molas course was transformed into an even tougher obstacle and scores soared along with the ever increasing turbulence.

Persson, two strokes off the lead at the start of the day, was paired with overnight leader, Pauli Hughes, in the final match and neither found form on the front nine. The Swede carded two bogeys in his first three holes and despite birdies at five and seven, dropped another shot at nine to be out in a one-over par 36. Hughes, the British-based Finn, fared even worse, reaching the turn with a double-bogey at eight and a triple at nine.

Just then, the wind blew in and began to pose more problems. “The course is tough to start with, but in the wind it was just a case of trying to make par,” said Persson.

By the time they reached the par five 15th tee they were tied, but while Persson made par, Hughes took seven to slip two shots behind. It was a lead Persson was to maintain despite dropping a shot with three putts at the 16th. Hughes fared even worse, dropping six shots in the last four holes. It all added up to an 81 as Pauli slipped back to finish at level par 288.

Persson, whose last tournament success came in May 1993 with the Torneo Islantilla Golf in Spain, beating both Antonio and Ignacio Garrido in the process, admitted he did not know what the situation was when playing the 18th. “I didn’t want to know. It is the Swedish way to never look at a leaderboard,” he joked. “When the wind got up my game plan was just to make par at each hole, find the fairway then find the green. If you miss the green then just get up-and-down. I also switched to playing irons off some tees just to keep the ball in play.

“It was only when I finished that I found I was two shots ahead of two Frenchmen. Two years ago I finished second four times so it is nice to win again after so long.”

Hughes was not the only one to suffer in the wind. Only two sub-70 rounds were returned, both before the wind got up, while Stuart Andrew, joint fourth overnight, slipped back with a 76, as did second round leader Thomas Nielsen.

Biggest beneficiary of the wind was Marcello Santi. Joint 35th at the start of the final round, he was out early in the calm conditions and carded a best-of-the-day 67 to climb into joint fourth place on 287. It was an ill wind that blew somebody some good.

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