Lara overcomes Lynn in play-off

9/19/2010 3:29:45 PM
Jose Manuel Lara  (Getty Images)
Jose Manuel Lara (Getty Images)

José Manuel Lara won his first European Tour title for four years after beating David Lynn in a play-off at the Austrian GolfOpen presented by Botarin.

Both players had finished 17 under par after a fascinating final round at Diamond Country Club, but Lynn needed three shots to find the green on the first extra hole and when he two-putted Lara was able to win with a par.

It completes a remarkable return to form for the 33 year old - who two weeks ago looked like losing his European Tour card after nine consecutive missed cuts.

But a fourth-placed finish at last week's KLM Open saw the confidence return and a closing round of 64, which included ten birdies, put him on a 17 under par total.

Lara admitted playing so well in The Netherlands last week had raised his expectations, however he had not expected to do quite so well in Austria.

"I was expecting something good. I was hitting the ball really well last week," Lara said.

"I wanted to win this tournament and the way I played today and this week, in my best dreams I never imagined that.

"Today I just came from behind and tried to work from the back and I did my job.

"It's a great time for me. All the guys supporting me, the Spaniards, I'm really happy now."

Lara is now targeting a place at the end-of-season Dubai World Championship, although he will need to add to his €125,000 winner’s cheque to nudge towards the required top-60 finish in The Race to Dubai.

He said: "I've played the Volvo Masters [the forerunner to the Dubai World Championship] four times in my career, so I think Dubai's the next step.

"I saved my card today. I've been struggling in the last few years and I've missed too many cuts."

He three-putted the 15th and 17th for bogeys, but a run of four consecutive birdies from the third, an approach to five foot at the tenth, a hattrick form the 12th and a 15 foot birdie putt at the 16th kept him in contention.

He kept his best for last though, setting the clubhouse target at 17 under par as he holed a curling 20 foot putt on the final green.

Lynn and compatriot Danny Willett had two holes left to play at that stage, but while 22 year old Willett's challenge faded with three closing bogeys, Lynn bravely holed par putts at the 17th and 18th.

While his only European tour title remains the KLM Open in 2004, he is guaranteed an 11th consecutive season inside the top 100 on The Race to Dubai.

“It’s mixed emotions really,” Lynn admitted. “To make the two-putt at the last to make the play-off was unexpected because it was quite a tough putt – a less than 50-50 chance of two-putting from there I’d say. And then I hit a poor drive in the play-off and that was it really.

“There are definitely some positives to take from this. Yesterday’s 64 was the highlight of the week and still shooting 68 today wasn’t enough.

“Second place is still a good finish so I can take heart from that and I’ve played some great golf this week. It’s just disappointing it hasn’t come off in the end.”

Willett was joined by US Open Champion Graeme McDowell - playing his last event before The Ryder Cup - and Swede Alexander Noren in third place.

And Matthias Schwab produced the best ever performance by a 15 year old on The European Tour - his closing 75 leaving him in a share of 32nd.

The Austrian Amateur Champion, the third youngest player ever to make a cut on The European Tour, bettered the performances of Sergio Garcia and Jason Hak.