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Poulter Wins Battle of Euro Young Guns at Volvo Masters

Ian Poulter made his par on the 18th hole at Valderrama to defeat Sergio Garcia on the first hole of a sudden death playoff for the Volvo Masters title. The Ryder Cup duo finished regulation play on level terms with seven under par totals of 277 after Garcia missed clear birdie opportunities on each of the last two holes. This was Poulter's first win on the European Tour since the Nordic Open in Denmark in August 2003 and his sixth win overall. He left it until the last stroke of the European Tour 2004 schedule to maintain his record of having claimed at least one victory in each of his five years on the full Tour after graduating from the European Challenge Tour in 1998.

Overnight leader, Scotland's Alastair Forsyth lost his three stroke advantage with bogeys on the first two holes and Poulter showed his intent early with a birdie on the second hole to take a share of the lead. Poulter then made bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes before recovering to take the outright lead with a string of three birdies starting on the eighth. When Garcia made birdies on eleven and twelve to join Forsyth one shot behind Poulter, the three were clear of the field and were soon in a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard as Poulter dropped a shot on the par four 13th hole.

Forsyth fell out of the running with a bogey on sixteen but parred the last two holes to secure third place on 278, his eighth top ten finish of the season. Fourth place was taken by Peter Hanson on 280. With four rounds of 70, Hanson was the only player in the tournament to complete four sub-par rounds. Fifth place was shared on 281 by another young Ryder Cup player, David Howell and France's Christian Cvar who won the Spanish Open earlier in the year. The only other two players to complete the tournament under par at the 1997 Ryder Cup venue were Lee Westwood and Scott Drummond with 283, one under for the week.

Garcia's season isn't quite over yet. Next week he is competing in THE TOUR Championship, the closing event on the PGA Tour schedule which is limited to the top 30 on the money list. Garcia currently stands at number seven with $3,115,415 from only 17 appearances which included victories at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship and the Buick Classic to add to his European win a couple of weeks ago at the Mallorca Classic.

 

 

Written by: Andy Smith (Editor, Golfing Weekly) -  Sun, October 31, 2004

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