2003: Gronberg surges to Italian victory

Brescia, Italy

Mathias Gronberg hadn’t won a tournament in nearly three years, and the drought appeared likely to continue after he entered the final round of the Italian Open tied for seventh.

But Gronberg erased a three-stroke advantage held by Ricardo Gonzalez May 4 and won the 60th Italian Open by two strokes.

“To win the 60th . . . is great,” said the 32-year-old Swede, who hadn’t won since 2000. “There are a lot of great and famous names on this trophy and it is just fantastic to be part of that.”

Gronberg shot 7-under-par 65 Sunday to overtake Gonzalez (70) and five others to finish at 17 under.

Gronberg had an eagle, six birdies and a bogey in the final round at Gardagolf Country Club. His back nine was eventful, but he held on for his fourth European Tour victory.

“When I eagled the 11th I knew I was playing well, but I also knew I had to play good golf to keep it going,” Gronberg said. “Unfortunately the bogey at No. 14 made it interesting, but I came back strongly which I was really proud of.”

Colin Montgomerie, who started the final round five strokes off the lead, closed with 65 and finished tied for second with Jose Manuel Lara (65) and Gonzalez. It was Montgomerie’s first competition in Europe this season.

Lara made bogey at No. 18 to ruin his chance for outright second, but it was still his best European Tour finish.

“This is a big thing for me,” Lara said. “It is good for my career because it is my first top-three finish.

“That will help my confidence . . . and the check is a nice bonus, too.”

– Staff and wire reports

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