Friday, 19 March 2010
Open de Espana - Round Four  (Getty Images)
Open de Espana - Round Four (Getty Images)

Former Ryder Cup player Thomas Levet dedicated victory to Seve Ballesteros after lifting the Open de España trophy in Girona.

Levet fought off a succession of challenges to claim his fifth European Tour title - a record for a French player - by two strokes from Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti.

Two shots further back in joint third were Ireland's Peter Lawrie, who had mounted a great bid to make the first successful defence since Max Faulkner in 1953, and Dane Thomas Björn.

Ballesteros underwent four operations late last year after the discovery of a brain tumour and is still having chemotherapy.

"I always think about Seve, he is having a hard time at the moment," said 40 year old Levet, who took the first prize of €333,330 with a closing 68 and 18 under par total of 270.

Then, looking into a television camera, he added: "Seve, I dedicate this win to you."

Asked what he most admired about the former World Number One, whose record 50 victories on the circuit included three Spanish Opens, Levet replied: "His fight, and that's what I did today."

He needed to. Two ahead overnight, he found himself two behind after four holes with playing partner Stuart Davis bursting out of the traps - appropriately enough for a man sponsored by the Nottingham greyhound track - with three successive birdies.

Davis, a European Tour rookie despite being 35, fell away to 15th place with a 78, but Zanotti, Lawrie and Björn then came on strong.

“It was a long way to go, if you do not make birdies early in the round, you struggle at the end,” added Levet.

“Winning is never easy. I knew it was a long way to go, it is a tricky golf course. You just have to keep your game going, as long as you make pars and birdies, you just have to concentrate on putting the ball on fairway. I made very few mistakes and all the way went up to the plan.”

Zanotti, a 25 year old South American, had never previously posted a top ten finish on the circuit, but he had nine birdies in a best-of-the-day 65.

It was not enough, though. From one in front with four to play Levet sank an eight foot putt at the long 15th and then birdied the 460 yard 17th as well.

“I am very happy,” said Zanotti. “I played very solid from yesterday, everything worked out as I wanted to.

“I played under pressure, because I had never been in this position before, but very comfortable. More pressure than at the [Qualifying] School, different pressure. Last year was my first season on Tour and I lost the card, I got it back here at the Tour School played in PGA Golf Catalunya, that’s why I know the course very well.

“I am playing very well this season, with lots of confidence, I have made many cuts and this is my best score at The European Tour, I have secured my card - I am really happy, very nervous but happy.”

Click here to listen to winner Thomas Levet's interview with Nick Dye

Click here to listen to interviews from the Open de Espana

Click here to watch the Day 4 Highlights from the Open de Espana

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LEVET, ThomasFRA18-18
2ZANOTTI, FabrizioPAR18-16
T3LAWRIE, PeterIRL18-14
T3BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-14
T6SIEM, MarcelGER18-9
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