Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara ended his three-year wait for another European Tour title when he won the Austrian Open on Sunday after a playoff against England’s David Lynn.
Both players finished the tournament on 17-under 271. Lara had 10 birdies in an 8-under 64 and Lynn had seven birdies in a 4-under 68 for his final round.
At the first playoff hole at the Diamond Country Club, Lynn drove into the rough and missed a 15-foot putt to save his par.
Lara clinched the second victory of his career following his 2007 win in the Hong Kong Open when he two-putted from 30 feet for par on the playoff hole.
Two weeks ago, however, he looked anything but a winner. Prior to finishing fourth at last Sunday’s KLM Open, he had missed nine straight cuts and was in danger of losing his card.
In Austria, he fired 10 birdies in an eight-under 64 to make the playoff in style. Having three-putted the 15th and 17th greens he sank a 35-foot birdie putt at the last to complete his round.
“I have missed too many cuts in the past two years,” Lara said after picking up the 125,000 euro (US$163,000) first prize, which should lift him from 139th into the top 115 in the money list who are guaranteed playing cards for next year.
“And after playing so poorly, I could not imagine I could play so well as I have done all this week here in Austria. Now I would like to climb into the top 60 and make the Dubai World Championship at the end of the year,” Lara said.
Lynn had led after the third round with fellow Englishman Danny Willett, who dropped shots at his last three holes having been at the top of the leaderboard. Lynn, playing in the final group, joined Lara at 17 under with his seventh birdie of the day on the 16th green.
Willett, after a 71, ended up in a group of three players tied for third place, three shots behind the winner. Alongside him were Sweden’s Alexander Noren after a 68 and US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, who closed with a 69.
McDowell had traveled to Austria at the end of a five-week break, seeking to rediscover his touch ahead of the Ryder Cup.
Four rounds in the 60s suggested that the Northern Irishman had achieved that aim, but a series of missed birdie opportunities prevented him putting last day pressure on the leaders.