South Africa's Retief Goosen won his third European title at the second extra hole of a sudden-death play-off after a thrilling final day battle against New Zealand' s Greg Turner in the Novotel Perrier Open de France at Golf du Medoc.
The pair began the final day in a three-way tie for the lead alongside the local favourite Marc Farry on 11 under par, but when the Frenchman's challenge ended in the water at the short fifth hole, it was left to Goosen and Farry to take centre stage.
After nine holes Goosen edged a shot clear when Turner bogeyed. A birdie at the tenth put him a further shot ahead and when Turner three putted the 13th Goosen was three clear. But, after both players birdied the 14th, Turner pulled another one back on the next and a third consecutive birdie to Goosen's bogey brought them back to level.
Playing the last Goosen found the greenside bunker but saved his par to equal Turner's round of 70 and 12-under-par total of 272 to take it into extra holes. It was back to the 18th and again Goosen saved par from the greenside bunker to take the contest into another hole. On the next visit he made no such mistake finding the centre of the green and safely two putting after Turner missed the green. When the New Zealander's putt from 12 feet lipped out the 141,660 euro first prize was Goosen's.
"I knew after Marc had his bad hole that Greg would be the man to beat," he said. "I got ahead and with four holes to play I thought I could play level to win it. But I hit a bad six iron on the 16th which cost me a bogey and a two-shot swing. That was a big turnaround. Then I got lucky in the play-off."
It was the second time he has won the title, his last victory coming in 1997 at Le National in Paris and the win moved him to fourth in the Volvo Order of Merit. Indeed it was a great return to form as only five months ago he broke his arm skiing and was forced to take two months away from the game.
For Turner, a wine connoisseur who has enjoyed the local produce as much as the golf, it was a tough end to a great week.
"With two people in the play-off unfortunately someone is going to come second," he said. "I was out of the tournament with six holes to play but got straight back in with three birdies. I had the advantage and he made a couple of good saves. Then I tried to be a bit aggressive having hit a really good tee shot but it didn't come off. In the end I just came up one putt short."