2006: Edfors notches win No. 3

Luss, Scotland

Johan Edfors may have to start bringing his family to more PGA European Tour stops.

At the Barclays Scottish Open July 16, most of Edfors’ immediate family was on hand and the result was the Swede’s third title of the season. Edfors had brought the group to Loch Lomond as a gift to celebrate his father’s 60th and his brother-in-law’s 40th birthday.

“We’ve been a big crowd here this week . . . I think there’ll be a reasonable family celebration tonight,” Edfors said. “This is a great win for me and it has been a dream season, a wonderful year and I hope that it continues.”

The Scottish Open title moved him to 10th on the Ryder Cup European Points list and into contention for a spot to take on the Americans at the K Club in September.

Edfors says his resurgence in 2006 is largely because of the time he took off earlier in the season.

“I took six weeks off, but there are some big events coming up and I’ve been trying to get ready for them,” said Edfors, who also won the TCL Classic in March and the British Masters in May.

Edfors shared the lead after the first round, but brought closing-round drama at Loch Lomond.

Angered by his “horrible” third-round 74, Edfors stormed out of the gates Sunday, making the turn at 6-under 30 to wipe out third-round advantages by Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn.

It appeared that Edfors dropped a crucial shot on the 17th, but Clarke and Bjorn also found trouble and couldn’t make up the ground.

The victory wasn’t without anxiety for Edfors though, as he had an uncomfortable wait for Argentina’s Andres Romero, who made a final charge with birdies on the Nos. 14 and 15 to move within one of Edfors.

Romero dropped a shot at No. 18. And although Romero’s play led Edfors to the practice range for a possible playoff, it wasn’t long before the Swede was celebrating with his family.

Fading late: Hale Irwin followed a quality first round with a sub-par weekend. Irwin was paired with eventual champion Johan Edfors in the first round. And although he was a good 40 yards shorter than Edfors off the tee, Irwin finished the first round with five consecutive birdies. Even Edfors was amazed at the feat.

“I heard after the round what age he is, which is amazing,” Edfors said. “because at 3 under par, he can still win the tournament.”

Irwin, who skipped the Champions Tour’s Ford Senior Players Championship which he won in 1999 and was runner-up last year, finished 66th after two 72s and a closing 76.

Short shots: Although his late charge at the Barclays fell short, Andres Romero had other reasons to celebrate. His tie for second

(11-under 273) secured Romero the available spot to this week’s British Open as the highest finisher not already exempt. . . . Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke might not be the closest of pals, but Monty realizes how important Clarke is to the European Ryder Cup cause. Clarke is outside the automatic spots for the team. “This year’s team would be weaker without him,” Montgomerie said. “It will be a huge boost if Darren can do well (and) help us all out for the Ryder Cup. He's the best player in Europe at the moment.” . . . Fred Couples pulled out of the tournament because of back trouble before the start of the first round. Couples missed the pro-am July 12 when his back locked up and missed making his debut at the tournament. . . . Sam Torrance made his record-breaking 700th European Tour appearance. He missed the cut

(74-78). . . . Order of Merit leader David Howell, who won the BMW Championship impressively by five shots in late May, was in despair about the state of his game heading to the British Open. “I’m struggling,” he said. “I’m just having a bit of a down period. Everything’s going (to the) right.” Howell tied for 35th at 3-under 281.

– Staff and wire reports

On the Tee

Next up: The Deutsche Bank Players’ Championship, July 27-30,

Gut Kaden, Hamburg, Germany. Defending champion: Niclas Fasth.

The buzz: Low final rounds were key in 2005, as John Daly set the course record with a 7-under 65.

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