Woosnam takes title with 25 foot birdie putt


IAN WOOSNAM grabbed his first victory for 16 months in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Singapore yesterday, beating Andrew Coltart with a 25 foot birdie putt at the third hole of a play off.

Coltart had scored a course record equalling 65, but Woosnam sank a 20 foot putt on the final green for a 66 and matching 16 under par total of 272.

The 25 year old from Thornhill missed a 12 foot chance to win on the first extra hole after Woosnam had two putted for par, but then holed from 20 feet to stay alive at the next after missing the green.

Woosnam looked in trouble when they returned to the 18th for the third time in the day, hooking his drive left.

But he found a gap through the trees and reached the green with a brilliant recovery and holed to the roars of the crowd.

Coltart, chasing his first individual success on the European tour, after helping Scotland win the Alfred Dunhill Cup last October, had already missed from 30 feet.

Darren Clarke bounced back from an indifferent third round to capture a share of 14th place with Paul McGinley. They both earned £9,000, while Raymond Burns had to settle for 29th spot and just under £5,000.

Clarke's poor round of 73 on Saturday cost him any chance of challenging for a second tour win as be and McGinley finished on 10 under par 278. He scored a four under par 68 yesterday to go level with McGinley who shot a 70.

While McGinley holed three big putts for birdies 20ft, 18ft and 15ft - and Burns holed a 50 footer with his new broomhandle putter, Clarke was unhappy with his performances on the greens.

He had dropped two shots to three putt bogeys on Saturday and chalked up, another yesterday.

Clarke said: "I'm getting there and my short game, apart from my putting, has improved tremendously thanks to the work I put in with Manuel Pinero at Valderrama this month.

"This week, though, was just the same as last week in Malaysia. A poor Saturday killed my chances. The putts just wouldn't drop and I don't whether it's a technical thing or not.

"When I go home after this week's event in Perth I'll be looking up my putting coach, Harold Swash, to try to get my accuracy back."

After a steady start to his tour year McGinley is optimistic. "Overall I was very pleased with my first official tour week," he said. "I only missed eight greens all week and though I'm not completely firing on all cylinders, it wasn't a bad start."

Burns had made many changes, also using a new driver, clubs and caddie and he was pleased with his progress. "Perhaps as usual I was expecting everything to be perfect and it wasn't quite that but I was very pleased with the way things went. It was a disappointing finish but then again it could as easily have been a 76 to finish as a 67. Just nothing really happened in the last round, but I'm optimistic for the year."

Joint third on 275, 13 under, were Essex's Paul Curry, Swede Olle Karlsson and Australian Wayne Riley.

Woosnam was so elated by his performance that he immediately, made his next target winning a second US Masters title at Augusta in April.

"That's what I'll be looking for if I keep playing like I did here," said the former world number one whose form was wretched for much of 1995.

Defending champion Fred Couples and world number three Ernie Els, whom many expected to fight it out for the title, both shot 70 to finish joint sixth at 12 under.