Thomas Björn of Denmark delivered the victory his superb season richly deserved when he played with calm precision to capture the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried by three strokes from local favourite Bernhard Langer. Björn shot a closing five under par 67 for a 20 under par total of 268 with Langer, also 67, on 271 and Spain’s Carl Suneson third on 272 after a round of 71.
Björn, who had finished tied second in the Open Championship at St.Andrews and outright third in the US PGA Championship, emphasised his emergence as one of the main players on the European stage with a near flawless final round.
Starting the day tied with 1999 Challenge Tour winner Suneson on 15 under par, the tall Dane made just one bogey and six birdies to burn off the dogged challenge of first Suneson then Langer, who was seeking his 11th title in his native Germany and his first in the BMW International Open.
Langer, with a birdie at the fifth and a stunning eagle at the sixth, came close to his fellow Ryder Cup player, but as the German acknowledged afterwards, every time he made a forward move it was covered by Björn.
In the end, back to back birdies for Björn at the 14th and 15th resolved the issue with Langer bogeying the 16th and England’s Daren Lee – who had gone into the final round one off the pace – running up a double to slip back into a tie for fifth spot behind Ignacio Garrido.
Björn, who secured his fifth title on the European Tour, commented: “I was pleased with the way I performed. I felt very comfortable and reckoned I would have a good chance if I didn’t make mistakes. I made only one at the 16th.
“I feel my golf has gone to another level and I wanted a win, which is what was missing this season. I am still a long way behind Lee Westwood in the Volvo Order of Merit, but I am definitely back in the race. I hope at the end of the season I am holding the Order of Merit trophy.”
Langer, chasing his first victory since 1997, admitted: “It seemed like so many other years – there’s always somebody who plays a little bit better than I did! I played well and put some heat on him but every time I made a birdie or eagle, he seemed to do the same thing.”
Björn’s win elevated him to fourth place in the Volvo Order of Merit, above seven-time winner Colin Montgomerie. For Langer, it was reassurance that his game is as solid as ever at the age of 43, while Suneson’s reward for his highest finish on Tour was the certainly that he has retained his card for 2001.
Despite a bogey at the last, Suneson is assured of that right next year and he said: “I enjoyed it. I was much calmer this week and it was a good experience. I gave it a good run and I hope to learn from this experience.”Final results and prize moneyFinal round video highlights