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Friday, 19 March 2010
Reuters - Welshman Stephen Dodd won his second European Tour title of the season by beating England's David Howell in a play-off for the Nissan Irish Open at Carton House Golf Club, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, on Sunday, Howell's second shoot-out disappointment in the space of a week.

The 38 year old Dodd, who won the season-opening Volvo China Open, birdied the first extra hole -- the par-five 18th -- after reaching the green in two with a drive and three iron and calmly holing out for birdie from five feet.

The pair had completed the 72 holes of regulation play on nine under par 279, Dodd with a 68 and Englishman Howell, who sank a 15 foot birdie putt at the last to take the tournament into extra time, a 70.

They finished two shots ahead of Argentine Angel Cabrera (68) and overnight leader Nick Dougherty of Britain (74).

Howell lost a play-off to Dane Thomas Björn at the second extra hole in last week's Daily Telegraph Dunlop Masters at Marriott Forest of Arden.

Dodd's Irish triumph was the latest chapter in a remarkable story for the Welshman, who took 11 years and 166 tournaments to clinch his maiden European Tour title in China last November but only eight further events to win his second.

Dodd, who won €333,330 in Ireland following a 90 minute storm delay, helped him climb to fourth on The European Tour Order of Merit

Dougherty took a two-shot lead into the final round at Carton House Golf Club but lost his way after a bright start, dropping four shots in four holes from the fifth. He was unable to recover from a four-putt double-bogey on the fifth.

Cabrera birdied four of the last six holes to close with a 68 and secure his best European finish since his second place at last year's PGA Championship.

Australian left-hander Nick O'Hern produced a blemish-free 66, the best score of the day, with six birdies to share fifth place, three strokes out of the playoff.

Course designer Colin Montgomerie was also boosted by six birdies as he recovered from a third-round 75 to sign off with a 70 and joint 28th place, a finish that left him upbeat about his chances of qualifying automatically for next month's U.S. Open.

Montgomerie lies 54th in the world rankings but needs to be in the top 50 after next week's BMW Championship to avoid U.S. Open pre-qualifying at Walton Heath, England on June 6.

"It was a difficult week this week for me, having to worry about other players, tee markers, signage, all that, so finishing with a 70 is pretty good," said the 41 year old Scot.

"I made six birdies and now I'll look forward to next week and take those birdies with me as positives.
"Then I'll hope for a top-five next week to get into the top 50 and avoid Walton Heath."

Defending champion Brett Rumford of Australia tied for 49th, but had a consolation prize of the use of a private jet for 10,000 miles after winning a separate competition for the player with the best aggregate score over the closing five holes in the Red Bull Final 5 contest.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1ROMERO, EduardoARG184
2MARTIN, Miguel AngelESP185
T3HOWELL, DavidENG18-9
T3DODD, StephenWAL18-9
T5CABRERA, AngelARG18-7
T5DOUGHERTY, NickENG18-7
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