Bjorn edges Casey, Clarke

European Tour

Tournament: Nissan Irish Open
Venue: Carton House GC, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Winner Thomas Bjorn.

Thomas Bjorn today (Monday) triumphed at the rain-delayed Nissan Irish Open, clinching the title with a critical birdie on the final hole at Carton House..
The ‘Great Dane’ holed out from eight feet after Darren Clarke and Paul Casey, playing with him in the final group, missed chances on the par-five 18th as this dramatic, close-fought event finally wound up on the fifth day of play.
The Dane carded a final-round 72 for a five-under-par total of 283, one shot clear of Casey, who could only three-putt the last for par from long range.
Home favourite Clarke was a shot further back after a bogey on the last when he duffed his pitch from the front of the green and three-putted.
But the Ulsterman, seeking to become the first home winner since John O’Leary in 1982, emerged with enormous credit after a moment of drama on the 9th hole when play resumed this morning.
Clarke had pushed his tee shot into heavy rough when play was suspended on Sunday evening, but found the ball in a much better lie today. That gave him the chance to reach the green in two but Clarke insisted on chipping out sideways and ended up with a bogey five.
Bjorn’s last tournament in Ireland saw him squander a four-shot lead with a final-round 86 in the European Open, including an 11 on the 17th.
He had also walked out of the same tournament the year before after six holes, citing ‘inner demons’, but but he shrugged all that away this time after a distastrous opening 78 and hit back with winning rounds of 66, 67 and 72.
“The game came good the last couple of days and today it was last-man standing,” Bjorn told Sky Sports 2.
“It was a question of just staying with it and knowing you were going to make a mistake here or there.
“You could say that this country owes me one, that’s for sure. I’ve lost in a play-off in the Irish Open and obviously what happened last year is something you want to put behind you.
“This was important for me, an important place for me to do it. It opens up a lot of things for me.
“Something comes up in September in this country I want to be a part of (Ryder Cup) and I needed to win early in the summer. At least now I’ve given myself a chance.”
Clarke played down the incident on the ninth, insisting: “It’s just part and parcel of the game.
“Yesterday I had a very poor lie and I got back out this morning and either a lot of people had been looking for it, or a lot of people had flattened the grass around it, it was a much better lie than when I left it.
“I could have hit it onto the front of the green but if I had done that, I would have held my head in shame walking all the way to the green so I just decided to chip it out and play it like I would have last night.”
As for the end result, Clarke added: “It’s obviously very disappointing. It was a tournament I really wanted to win and I’m a bit gutted at the minute to finish bogey-par-bogey.”
ALL OF MONDAY’S FINAL ROUND SCORES
283 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 78 66 67 72
284 Paul Casey 73 70 68 73
285 Darren Clarke 75 70 67 73
286 Peter Hedblom (Swe) 72 70 70 74
287 Anthony Wall 73 68 70 76, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 74 68 72 73, Robert Rock 75 73 68 71, Ross Fisher 73 70 69 75, Maarten Lafeber (Nedl) 71 74 71 71, Bradley Dredge 71 73 72 71
288 Padraig Harrington 71 74 69 74
289 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned) 72 74 68 75, Jarrod Lyle (Aus) 72 70 71 76, Michael Campbell (Nzl) 72 73 71 73
290 Christian Cevaer (Fra) 70 71 74 75, Phillip Archer 75 69 70 76, Stuart Little 74 74 70 72, Gregory Havret (Fra) 76 71 68 75
291 Richard Bland 76 72 69 74, Colm Moriarty (Ie) 77 71 70 73, Damien McGrane 75 69 74 73, Martin Erlandsson (Swe) 73 71 72 75, Nick Dougherty 75 72 72 72, Steven Jeppesen (Swe) 72 71 72 76, Peter Lawrie 75 68 75 73, Stephen Browne 78 69 72 72, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 72 74 75 70
292 Gary Orr 77 71 72 72, Tom Whitehouse 73 69 72 78
293 Marc Warren 75 72 72 74, Andres Romero (Arg) 75 73 68 77, David Dixon 74 70 74 75, Ian Woosnam 77 70 75 71, Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 70 77 72 74, Sam Little 75 73 71 74, Barry Lane 73 74 70 76
294 Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 76 72 72 74, Paul Lawrie 75 68 71 80, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 75 68 73 78, Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 71 72 73 78, David Higgins 74 74 74 72, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 73 70 72 79, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 75 70 73 76
295 Alexandre Rocha (Bra) 74 73 74 74, Iain Pyman 70 73 77 75, Stephen Gallacher 77 71 74 73, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 79 69 72 75, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 71 76 72 76
296 Christian Nilsson (Swe) 74 71 73 78, Peter Gustafsson (Swe) 75 69 76 76, Emanuele Canonica (Ita) 76 70 76 74, Ian Garbutt 74 72 72 78
297 Brett Rumford (Aus) 74 74 73 76, Matthew Millar (Aus) 75 72 72 78, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 73 67 74 83
298 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 75 73 75 75, Ariel Canete (Arg) 76 68 75 79, David Lynn 74 74 72 78, David Griffiths 77 70 72 79
299 Carl Suneson (Spa) 77 71 73 78, Alastair Forsyth 74 74 77 74, Ian Poulter 71 70 73 85, Marcel Siem (Ger) 79 68 68 84, Simon Dyson 76 72 78 73, Johan Edfors (Swe) 69 78 75 77
300 Rafael Gomez (Arg) 75 72 74 79, Steve Webster 72 76 77 75, Soren Hansen (Den) 76 70 74 80
301 Mark Foster 76 72 73 80
303 Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 75 72 76 80, Richard McEvoy 76 71 76 80