Mon, Jul 26, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Aussie surprises field after winning the Evian Masters

AP , EVIAN, FRANCE AND DROGHEDA, IRELAND

Overturning form and all the forecasts, Australia's Wendy Doolan captured the Evian Masters title on Saturday.

Doolan, 35, collected the biggest win and richest check of her professional career with a final-round 7-under-par 65 to finish 18-under overall at 270 -- one stroke clear of world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam who had a 71.

Doolan overturned the leaderboard with a birdie-eagle-birdie-eagle-birdie purple patch from the sixth hole, seven shots gained in five holes.

"That's a lot of birdies and eagles right there," a satisfied Doolan said. "I'm going to cherish this because I wouldn't be surprised if it never happens again."

A pitching-wedge to 3.6m at the sixth was followed by a 5-iron to two feet to eagle the seventh.

Doolan hit another 5-iron, to 1.8m, to birdie the eighth and then followed with a 6-iron to eight feet to eagle the ninth.

A gap-wedge shot to 1.5m gave her birdie at the 10th and completed her title-winning run.

Doolan went from six strokes adrift of then tournament leader Sorenstam with 12 holes to play, to three strokes ahead with three holes to play.

"I just knew I had it in me to make a lot of birdies on this course," the Australian said. "This means what I'm doing is working for me."

It was Doolan's third LPGA title in a nine-year career on the Tour.

She collected a winner's check for US$375,000.

Only in 2001, when the Australian accumulated winnings of US$405,103, has she earned more in a season than she pocketed for her week's work in Evian.

Her Evian earnings move her up to eighth in the LPGA money-list with a total of US$561.530, while Sorenstam remains firmly in the top spot with US$636,290.

But Doolan had no plan to celebrate.

"I'll be following my usual routine before next week's British Open. Nothing different," she said.

Sorenstam, who held a three-stroke overnight lead, played the first 15 holes in two-over.

She then birdied the last three holes in a desperate attempt to get on back terms and gave herself an 11m eagle putt for eagle at the last to force the playoff.

But her ball stopped pin-high, six inches (15 centimeters) from the hole.

Sorenstam finished runner-up at 271 with Mexico's Lorena Ochoa (68) in third slot, a shot further back at 272.

Irish Open

Peter Lonard overcame a blip in the middle of his round to post a level-par 72, leaving him one stroke ahead of fellow-Australian Brett Rumford after three rounds.

Lonard was 10-under-par 206. Rumford shot 70 for 207 with James Kingston of South Africa third on 208 after a 72.

The 37-year-old from Sydney triple-bogeyed the short seventh and three-putted the eighth. But two birdies before, and two later in the round rescued him.

Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, second after two rounds and playing with Lonard, began well but bogeyed five holes out of eight in the middle for a 75. He is five shots off the lead.

Lonard, who also plays the US Tour and has a home in Orlando, said that apart from his tee shot at the seventh "I was pretty much in control of the whole deal.

On the 175-yard seventh, his 4-iron into the wind finished in the rough at the base of a hill. His first chip came up short and rolled back down the hill. Next he chipped to 40 feet and two putted.

The wind was the strongest of the week.

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