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Sunday, 08 October 2006

Frenchman Julien Foret barged his way to the Golf International Open de Toulouse title with a brilliant final round showing of six under par 66 at the Golf de Toulouse-Seilh, taking him into a sudden-death play-off with England’s Shaun P Webster which he won at the first extra hole to pick up the first prize of €19,200 and complete a dream day in his homeland.

That prize money propelled Foret to 45th place on the Challenge Tour Rankings, and ensured the Frenchman would take the final available position at the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final in a fortnight’s time, where the elite Challenge Tour players do battle for the 20 available European Tour cards on offer through the Rankings.

Foret had began the final round four shots of the lead held by his fellow countryman Anthony Grenier and Germany’s Matrin Kaymer and began his final round with an aggressive care-free attitude that would take him to the title.

With Foret playing so well, and many of the other main contenders struggling to find their top form, the Frenchman soon found himself in contention for the title.

Having reached 14 under, Foret stepped onto the par three 18th green to find that Kaymer had bogeyed the 17th to fall back to 13 under. Foret then holed a gutsy par putt from eight feet to set the clubhouse lead.

Only Webster could match that 72 hole aggregate with his final round 69, so Foret and Webster went back to the 18th tee to decide the tournament in a sudden-death play-off with Foret emerging triumphant with a par three to the Englishman’s bogey.

“I saud to myself this morning that I just had to be as relaxed as possible,” said Foret, who was presented with the Golf International Open de Toulouse Trophy by former Challenge Tour player and Ryder Cup star Thomas Levet.

“I didn’t think about the results or look at the leaderboards until I got to the 18th green and heard that Kaymer had dropped a shot, so it was then that I decided to have a look and see what I needed to do.

“Once I got into the play-off I treated it as a bonus and just tried to enjoy it and to win and then find out that I have done enough to reach the Grand Final is just the cherry on top of the cake. I knew somewhere at the back of my mind that I might be able to sneak into the top 45 if I could win, but to do it is a great feeling. I am very happy.”

While Foret and Webster decided who would leave Toulouse as the Golf International Open de Toulouse champion, the rest of the field were waiting anxiously on the new Challenge Tour Rankings being published to see who had remained in, or managed to break into, the top 45 on the Rankings.

Foret made the biggest climb of everyone, from 110th to 45th to complete an unbelievable day and ensure that he still has a chance to win a place on The European Tour via the Challenge Tour Rankings.

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