Vaughan Triumphs in Senior Open as Norman Comes Close Again

Greg Norman was again in contention at an Open event but, like before, failed to land the top prize as American Bruce Vaughan fought back from nowhere to win the Senior Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Norman birdied five of the first seven holes on the final day but failed to sustain his charge, finishing tied for fourth.

Vaughan, meanwhile, beat compatriot John Cook in a sudden-death play-off to take the $315,000 first prize, the biggest pay cheque of his career.

Vaughan recovered from three shots off the lead as Cook’s early advantage disappeared. He then rolled in a 15-foot putt in the play-off to win his first senior major title.

After a trying two years during which time he underwent six operations on his left knee and had two partial replacement procedures, the 51-year-old, who closed with a 70, was grateful to be holding aloft the trophy.

Apart from beating Cook and Norman, he also got the better of fellow Kansas native Tom Watson, Bernard Langer and Ian Woosnam, to name a few. He said on the European Tour website:

“The money’s great, because I’ve had problems with my knee and haven’t been able to play much for a long time. You know, I just kind of was biding my time waiting to get out here because I thought I could play out here. Until you win, you’re just another player. It is a special win with the players in the field. I mean, look how good Greg played last week. Tom Watson as well – you know Tom is legend where I’m from.”

Norman, a two-time Open champion, came close to winning the British Open last week when he led going into the final round. But defending champion Padraig Harrington came up trumps on the final day to take his second straight title.

Cook finished with a 71, reviving the agonising memory of his Open loss to Nick Faldo at Muirfield 16 years ago when he squandered a two-stroke lead with two holes left.

Argentina’s Eduardo Romero was third on 279 while Langer was a further stroke behind after his 68. Norman and Gene Jones also shot 68 to tie for fifth with Watson, who closed with 70.

The European Tour, meanwhile, was in Moscow where Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg won his second Russian Open after a final round of 68.

The 2005 champion completed his four rounds at 21-under-par to score a two-shot win over Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara at the Le Meridien Moscow Country Club.

Tied for third place was England’s Benn Barham and Norwegian Jan Are Larsen.

Lara tagged Lundberg for most of the final round, even taking the lead after the eighth. But a bogey on the ninth and some great recovery play from Lundberg enabled the Swede to go into the 18th hole two shots ahead.

Across the pond, Chez Reavie won his first PGA Tour title when he closed with a one-under-par 70 to win the Canadian Open by three strokes from Billy Mayfair.

Reavie finished 17-under-267 for his victory, which was worth $900,000 and also enabled him to qualify for next week’s World Golf Championship as well as the final major tournament of the season, the PGA Championship.

Mayfair managed 68 in the final round while Sean O’Hair also fired 68 and Steve Marino made 70 to tie for third at 13-under-par. Canadian Mike Weir finished with a 69 to end up a further stroke behind.

Anthony Kim moved into the top 10 of the world rankings after tying for eighth place. Kim finished seventh at last week’s Open at Royal Birkdale having already won twice on the PGA Tour this season.

On the LPGA Tour, Helen Alfredsson defeated a player more than half her age over three play-off holes to win the Evian Masters in Evian-Les-Baines, France.

The 43-year-old Alfredsson won her sixth title when she overcome Choi Na-yeon, 20, in the play-off after fighting back from four shots off the lead earlier in the day. She also set a tournament record of nine-under-par 63 in the second round.

Alfredsson and Na finished on 15-under-par 273 after the Korean closed with 66. World number one Lorena Ochoa, of Mexico, was fifth on 12-under.

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