Friday, 19 March 2010
There is nothing quite like the unique Open Novotel Perrier, and after 90 holes of golf it still all came down to the last hole of the superb Golf du Medoc course at Bordeaux.

And for the second successive year it was the Swedes who were celebrating as Jarmo Sandelin and Olle Karlsson both birdied the final hole for rounds of 70 and 66 respectively in the singles aggregate round for a 26-under-par total of 329 and a three-shot victory.

The Swedish pair led by four going into the final round after a flawless greensomes round of 63, eight under par, but as the final round progressed with both singles scores counting, their lead disappeared as the Spanish team of Seve Ballesteros and Miguel Angel Jimenez and England's Richard Boxall and Derrick Cooper, charged up the field.

But the Swedes regained the initiative by both birdieing the par-five 14th and although their lead dropped to one after Sandelin missed a two foot putt on the 16th, they finished in style to win by three from Boxall and Cooper.

"On the 14th we decided to play up short where we were more comfortable and hit to the flag and we both made birdies," said Sandelin. "That was the key hole for us."

Karlsson added: "We knew we had to play well on the 18th as we only had a one shot lead. It's easy to make a bogey if you're not concentrating but we both hit perfect drives and felt comfortable. I think we will go out for a big meal to celebrate."

Until last Saturday Karlsson was expecting to be spending the week at home in Sweden, practising for the Volvo Masters, but after Sandelin's first two partners Alex Cjeka and Thomas Gogele pulled out, Karlsson was invited to play. The results couldn't have been better as both players clicked in each round of this unique event.

Jose Rivero and Santiago Luna, the hero of Spain after beating Tiger Woods the previous week in the Dunhill Cup, and the team of Jeff Remesy and Raphael Jacquelin, the French pair who led for all three rounds last year, set the early pace with 11 under par rounds of 60 in the opening fourball better-ball round. Rivero and Luna extended their lead in the foursomes round with a 66 but the Swedes made their move on the Saturday.

For Boxall and Cooper, twice winner of the Sunningdale Foursomes, it is the second time in three years they have been denied the title. With rounds of 66 and 67 respectively they closed a six-shot deficit on the leaders. When Boxall reached the turn in four under then rattled in a 45 foot eagle putt on the 10th it looked as if they might just clinch the title, but two bogeys on the next two holes ultimately proved costly.

"It's not a bad way to finish the season," said Boxall. "Derrick's been teaching me and the swings been under a bit of pressure and went a bit funny for a couple of holes after the 10th. But if someone had offered me second place at the beginning of the week I would have taken it."

Ballesteros and Jimenez, reuniting the Ryder Cup partnership of 12 months ago, also threatened and shared the lead briefly when Jimenez eagled the 14th and had Seve not missed three putts in the last three holes they would have finished in second place.

Ballesteros said: "The last few holes we didn't have much luck. Miguel hit a lovely putt on the 14th which lipped out and then the last three holes were disappointing. But it was a good week."

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