Hanson steadies himself at the end

 

Golf Czech Open:PETER HANSON leapt from 15th to eighth in Europe’s Ryder Cup race after winning a dramatic and nerve-wracking Czech Open with an 18-foot play-off putt today.

Swede Hanson, who was not even in the penultimate event of the year-long race until he received an invitation last Monday, looked like blowing a four-stroke lead as the pressure mounted on the final day in Celadna.

But the 32-year-old birdied the long 16th, then parred the last two to tie with Dubliner Peter Lawrie and England’s Gary Boyd on 10-under-par 278.

They had shot 66 and 68 to his error-ridden 74, but after all parred the first extra hole Hanson took his chance on the next after the other two had missed their birdie attempts.

“To make that putt feels fantastic,” he said after taking his European Tour play-off record to three wins out of three. “And to know I had to come here and win (to climb into the top nine on the points table) and pull it off feels great.

“There’s another week to go, but it looks so much better now.”

Controversially, Casey, Harrington, Donald and Rose have all elected to stay in America next week for the start of the money-spinning FedEx Cup play-off series rather than travel to Gleneagles for the Johnnie Walker Championship.

Now one of them will pay the price, and it could be more than one because Italian Edoardo Molinari, whose brother and World Cup-winning partner Francesco yesterday secured a debut, needs a wild card as well.

Hanson would have settled for climbing to ninth, but he goes to eighth because Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez managed only a closing 73 on the Prosper course he designed. That dropped him from joint second overnight into a tie for seventh and it could cost him dear.

The 46-year-old does not intend to go to Scotland either, preferring to attend a nephew’s wedding, and could be knocked out of the team by Ross McGowan, Simon Dyson or Alvaro Quiros.

Dyson would have gone into the top nine by winning, but a 72 saw him slip from joint second to fifth.

He, like Quiros, will have to win next Sunday to make the team, while McGowan, joint 25th yesterday, needs a top-two finish.

Like Francesco Molinari, Irish Open champion Ross Fisher will head to the final event knowing his first cap is in the bag.

They chose to rest this week and the results of Jimenez and McGowan make it certain they will join Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter in the side.

Hanson was buckling under the pressure when he had three successive bogeys from the second, and then double-bogeyed the 12th after grabbing back the lead.

Lawrie set the clubhouse target thanks to an amazing burst around the turn when he birdied the eighth and ninth, pitched in from 90 yards for eagle on the 10th and birdied the next two.

Tour rookie Boyd, with no previous top-10s, led after a front-nine 31, three-putted the 11th and 15th for bogeys and the 16th for par, but then made a 12-footer from the back fringe on the last.

There was a difference of over €150,000 between winning and losing the play-off, and for Hanson it was almost 160,000 Ryder Cup points.

Lawrie’s chip on the first extra hole hit the cup, but stayed out. If it had gone in Hanson would have only gone up to 11th on the cup list.

Instead, he can now only lose his place if Dyson wins next weekend and McGowan is second.

(Irish in bold, British unless stated, par 72)

LEADING SCORES

278 - Peter Hanson (Swe) 67 70 67 74 (Peter Hanson won play-off at second hole, €333,330), Gary Boyd 72 70 68 68, Peter Lawrie70 68 74 66 (€173,710 each).

279 - Anthony Wall 70 69 73 67.

280 - Julien Guerrier (Fra) 68 72 71 69, Simon Dyson 70 69 69 72.

281 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 71 70 67 73, Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) 70 68 73 70.

282 - Tano Goya (Arg) 67 72 74 69, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 72 72 70 68.

283 - Richard Bland 68 71 71 73, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 74 68 75 66.

284 - Marco Ruiz (Par) 74 71 72 67, Phillip Price 70 70 69 75, Fabrizio Zanotti 72 69 74 69.

285 - Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 70 73 71 71, Stephen Gallacher 74 68 68 75, David Lynn 73 72 68 72, Bradley Dredge 74 67 74 70.

286 - Christian Cevaer (Fra) 72 70 76 68, Richard Finch 69 73 71 73, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 73 65 72 76, Alastair Forsyth 74 70 73 69, Kenneth Ferrie 71 68 73 74.

287 - Steve Webster 72 69 73 73, Damien McGrane74 72 71 70, Miles Tunnicliff 70 73 70 74, Ross McGowan 73 71 73 70.

288 - Marco Soffietti (Ita) 75 71 70 72, Anton Haig (Rsa) 70 72 74 72, Shiv Kapur (Ind) 66 74 71 77, Marc Warren 70 71 75 72, Shane Lowry75 64 77 72, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 74 69 78 67.

290 - Michael Hoey70 72 73 75.

308 - Gary Murphy73 73 85 77.