Lawrie wins Open after playoff
Paul Lawrie won the 128th Open at Carnoustie in a play-off after an amazing collapse
by Jean Van de Velde.
from nearby Aberdeen, Van de Velde and 1997 Open champion Justin Leonard went
into a four-hole play-off after one of the most amazing collapses in the tournament's
Van de Velde had the tournament at his mercy as he stood on the tee at the 18th
with a three-shot lead.
incredibly he took a triple bogey seven to slip back to six-over-par and Leonard
and Lawrie, who had given up all hope, were suddenly called back to contest a
de Velde's calamitous 18th began with a wayward drive that left him almost on
the 17th fairway.
approach to the green then clattered into the grandstand on the right side of
the green and bounced back into deep rough.
third he dumped in the burn in front of the green and incredibly he then removed
his shoes and socks, stepped into the water, and contemplated playing out rather
than taking a penalty shot.
he saw sense and took a drop to leave himself needing to get up and down for a
six to win the title.
his fifth shot from rough found the bunker and at that stage a play-off looked
he chipped out and then bravely holed a 10 foot putt to get himself into the play-off.
The chaos continued at the
first play-off, the par four 15th, as Van de Velde lost his first ball in a bush.
He did manage to get his
second down in four but it still meant a double bogey.
wayward drives by his two rivals resulted in bogeys for both to keep Van de Velde's
hopes far from dead.
bogey at the par three 16th after his drive found the bunker left the Frenchman
three over but Leonard and Lawrie again failed to take advantage and bogeys for
both left them at two over.
destiny of the 128th Open title was still very much in the balance with two holes
made a solid par at the 17th but there were more fireworks as Van de Velde made
a birdie level to join him at two over before Lawrie sank a birdie of his own
to take a one shot lead.
de Velde's wayward driving cost him again at the last and when Leonard found the
burn Lawrie was firmly in the driving seat.
he chose that moment to play one of the shots of his life as a majestic iron landed
just four feet from the flag.
left him with a birdie putt which he holed to become the 1999 Open champion.