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Sunday, 04 September 2011
Thomas Bjorn  (Getty Images)
Thomas Bjorn (Getty Images)
Thomas Björn matched the lowest round of his European Tour career to grab a second successive victory in blistering fashion in Switzerland.

The 40 year old Dane fired a nine under par 62 to turn a three stroke deficit into a four shot win over Martin Kaymer at the Omega European Masters.

Björn had also been three behind with a round to go in last week's Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

There he was involved in a marathon five-man, five-hole play-off. This time he left the rest behind - Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood included - with a marvellous closing burst.

Kaymer missed a two foot putt on the long 14th that would have taken him two in front and how Björn made him pay.

He was almost in water with his approach on the same hole but birdied it to draw level, made another ten footer for eagle on the next and then put the icing on the cake with two closing birdies.

After going five under for the last five holes, he said: "The way I finished was special and it's been an amazing two weeks.

"I started hitting my wedges so well last week and kept it going.

"At the end you think nothing can go wrong. Golf seems easy sometimes and you have to remember that when you are not playing well."

He has had a real rollercoaster career, talking of "fighting demons" after he lost the 2003 Open Championship from three ahead with four to play and going through another low this summer following the death of his father.

But with a third win of the year - World Number One Luke Donald is the only other player to do that - Björn is now back in the world's top 30 and, of course, leads the Ryder Cup race which started this week at Crans-sur-Sierre.

The picturesque mountain course saw record crowds of 54,100 flock through the gates this week – up by 1,400 on last year.

With tee times brought forward because of the threat of storms, Kaymer burst out of the pack with two eagles and two birdies in the first eight holes.

But as low cloud and rain duly arrived the German lost the magic, finishing with ten pars in a row for a 65.

Second place could be good enough to take him back up from fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking to third, however, depending on results in America.

Joint third were US Open Champion McIlroy, South African Jaco Van Zyl and overnight leader Jamie Donaldson.

McIlroy was joint top after two opening birdies, but had to wait until the 14th for his next one and a 68 was never likely to be enough.

Van Zyl, last man into the event, came through from 15th with a 64, but Donaldson could manage only a 70 and now has gone 238 European Tour events without a win.

Westwood also shot 70 and, having started the second in sole possession of second, that meant a sixth place finish for the World Number Two.

Fellow Englishman Nick Dougherty, whose opening 63 had set him up to end a miserable run of 21 successive missed cuts, fell back to 45th with a 73.

He was over par in each of the final three rounds and so the three-time winner still faces a long battle to avoid a return to the qualifying school at the end of season.

But at least he now appears on The Race to Dubai. His last cheque was last November.

McIlroy, playing for the first time since he hurt his arm against a tree root in the US PGA Championship, said: "It was a bittersweet week.

"Coming back off the injury I didn't know what to expect. To get myself into contention was great and the arm felt 100 per cent healthy, which is a huge positive.

"Even if I had played well I don't know if I would have been able to catch Thomas.

“Thomas is a very popular winner. From the win last win and the win here and in Qatar. He has really turned his game around. 

“I’ve really gotten to know Thomas well over the years. He was assistant at The Ryder Cup and when I played the Vivendi in 2009, he was the captain of The European Team. To shoot a 62 is very impressive and I don’t think I could have done anything to beat that.”

Donaldson, still with a share of the lead with four to play, commented: "I'm quite happy really - it's my best finish of the year.

"I did well to get it out in one over, but the back nine I played great and that's the time when you want to play well.

"There are so many positives to take out of it. I stayed in the hunt not playing well and you can take a lot from that. I can't possibly beat myself up over it."

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