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7 September 2008

Lucquin champion in Switzerland


Jean-François Lucquin described it as "a dream" after he won the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in thrilling fashion following a play-off with Rory McIlroy. The Frenchman shot a bogey free 67 to wipe out the 19 year old from Northern Ireland’s four shot overnight lead and snatched the title with a birdie at the second play-off hole.

Lucquin birdied the par five first before a string of pars on the front nine.

He birdied the par three eighth and then picked up shots on consecutive holes at the tenth and 11th.

On the 18th he made a solid putt for par, which proved crucial as he finished on 12 under par for the tournament.

McIlroy, trying to become the third-youngest winner in European Tour history, missed a five foot putt for par at the 18th that would have given him the title.

But worse was to follow as he then missed again from only about 18 inches at the second play-off hole.

It left Lucquin with two putts to win from 12 feet, but he needed only one of them for his first European Tour victory in 175 attempts.

Lucquin said: "I have no words to explain what I am feeling. I don't know what happened (to McIlroy) on the second.

"He asked if he could finish, I said that was okay and he missed it. That made it easier for me.

"When I saw my wife and little boy it was a dream," he added.

McIlroy started the final day four clear, but after bogeys on the second and third suddenly found himself one behind.

At one point he was down to fourth, but back he came and a 20-foot birdie putt on the long 15th took him into the lead again.

After pars on the next two he went over the back of the final green, chipped five feet past and missed it for a round of 71.

"Obviously I am very disappointed," he said. "I got very unlucky on the 18th in regulation, where it got a pretty big bounce for a sand wedge.

"I hit a good chip, but not a very good putt. Then second time around in the play-off it didn't really matter as he holed his.

"That made me feel a bit better after missing that putt. I can take a lot from this week - I played very well all week and played well coming down the stretch, but unfortunately one bad shot cost me.

"I came here after three missed cuts in a row and found a bit of form. It would have been nice to go home with the trophy, but I have plenty more tournaments even this year.

"It would be great to get a win this year, but if not I have the rest of my career. C'est la vie."

Four players tied for third place, including home favourite Julien Clément, who finished an impressive tournament with a 68.

Gary Orr and Miguel Angel Jiménez also finished 11 under par after both hit 67s today, with France’s Christian Cévaër also taking a share of third with a 68.