Bjorn wins Estoril Open to end 4-year skid
Monday, February 14, 2011
ESTORIL, Portugal – Thomas Bjorn emerged from a four-year title drought to win the Estoril Open by five shots on Sunday.
The 39-year-old Dane, who led by three strokes entering the final round, shot a 4-under 68 at Penha Longa to reach a 23-under total of 265 and hold off Australian left-hander Richard Green, who closed with a 70.
Bjorn’s total was only one stroke short of the Portuguese record set by Colin Montgomerie at Quinta do Lago in 1989.
It was Bjorn’s 10th victory on the European Tour but his first since winning the Irish Open at Carton House in 2006.
“It feels it has been a long time in coming,” Bjorn said. “But I have to be pleased. When I saw the weather conditions, I thought if I shot somewhere in the 60s, I would be difficult to beat, and I produced a 68.
“Richard would not go away through the first nine holes, but the 14th and 15th holes where I made birdies turned it around for me. I made some great shots at the right time.”
Bjorn’s lead slipped to two strokes at the par-5 12th, when he drew gasps from the crowd by missing a putt from inside 18 inches. But he settled down with birdie putts from close range on Nos. 14 and 15 to open a five-shot lead.
Fellow Dane Mark Haastrup, who missed the cut in five of his previous six tournaments, closed with a 67 to take third place for the first time in a European Tour event.
That allowed him to overtake Irishman Damien McGrane, who tied the course record with a 64 in the first round. After three successive birdies, McGrane was only two shots behind Bjorn with six holes to play.
McGrane, who won the China Open in foul weather in 2008, has a reputation for playing his best under tough conditions. But as the wind blew at up to 30 mph while he was on the back nine, he finished with six straight bogeys for a 73 and fifth-place finish.