ASH, England (AP) — Christian Cevaer of France won the European Open by a stroke Sunday, more than five years after his only previous victory.
Cevaer, ranked 449th in the world at the beginning of the week, made only one birdie in a round of 74 after three bogeys on the front nine, but was solid again on the tough closing stretch of the 7,257-yard London Golf Club course.
He birdied the 15th and parred the other four holes of the treacherous last five, getting on the final green with a rescue club before two-putting from the fringe for his victory. His four round total was 281, good for his first win since the 2004 Spanish Open
Steve Webster and Gary Orr, with rounds of 71, shared second place with Alvaro Quiros (72).
The big-hitting Spaniard hit a spectator with his drive and another with his second over the green at the last, and could not get up and down from the rough.
The 471-yard 18th hole continued to trouble players, with numerous triple and double bogeys, as it has all week. But Cevaer parred it three times and birdied it once over the four rounds.
“I should frame that hole and take it home with me. I hit the fairway every day. Maybe being a short hitter is a help,” he said. “This is what we work for, to be in that situation and to pull off those shots just the way I wanted to each time.”
Cevaer is also looking forward to the birth of his second child next month.
“I may have to miss the French or Scottish Opens. Who cares? Because there is going to be another victory in four or five weeks with our second child,” Cevaer said.
Because he did not want to be away from his wife, he did not attempt final qualifying at Walton Heath last Monday for the U.S. Open in mid-June, but he said he would try to qualify in a week’s time for the British Open in July
Stephen Dodd, who drove home to Wales on Friday thinking he had missed the cut, carded a 68 and tied for fifth with Chris Wood (73) and Jeev Milka Singh (76).
Singh was tied for the lead with Cevaer overnight but three bogeys at the start of the back nine ended his hopes.
Former British Open champion Ben Curtis also shot 68 and finished in a four-way tie for eighth, with Rory McIlroy alone in 12th spot after a 75.
“This was one I could have won. It was very disappointing. I just didn’t really play anywhere near how I can,” said McIlroy, who will take two weeks off before the U.S. Open at Bethpage in mid-June.
“It will be nice to get myself ready and fresh for that,” he said.
World No. 4 Sergio Garcia, runner-up last year, was the only other player to shoot 68 and finished tied for 13th.