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Monday, 20 July 1998
Robert Lee covered the first nine holes at testing Prince’s in just 29 shots for a final round 66 and a three stroke victory in the Mastercard Challenge with an 11-under-par total of 277.

Starting out four behind, Lee opened with three straight birdies and quickly moved in front when overnight leader Richard Johnson dropped two shots at the short third.

Another birdie at the fifth, and three more from the seventh completed the Royal Mid Surrey tournament professional’s stunning outward run - the lowest ever over the Shore course - and stretched his advantage to seven.

It was a remarkable effort, given the height of the rough, which can’t be cut back until August to protect the rare orchids, but Lee has twice before scored 27 for nine holes, in Monte Carlo and Estoril.

The 36-year-old Londoner was twice a winner on the European Tour, at Cannes in 1985 and in Portugal two years later, and is determined to battle back to the big time through success on the European Challenge Tour.

“I hadn’t initially planned to play in Germany this week, but I am delighted that I changed my mind,” said Lee, who now heads for Southport & Ainsdale and Final Qualifying for the Open.

The £6,500 winner’s cheque secured, the battle for second was won by Richard Bland, who was also the runner up at St Omer last month.

Daren Lee, no relation, closed with a fine 68 for 282 and a share of third place with long time leader Johnson 75, while Steven Young was fifth on 283 after a 69.

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