Kingston surprised himself

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It nearly was Tom Watson, but instead it is South African James Kingston who is the oldest winner on the European Tour this year.

It nearly was Tom Watson, but instead it is South African James Kingston who is the oldest winner on the European Tour this year.
At 43 Kingston does not come into the veteran category like 60-year-old Watson who came so close, of course, to becoming Open champion for the sixth time in July, but the latest win of his career was still a sweet one.
The former South African Open champion beat Dane Anders Hansen with a par four on the first play-off hole to capture the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne.
Kingston had been two ahead with two to play, but after Hansen had birdied the 17th he three-putted it from only 20 feet.
When they went into sudden death, though, Hansen found a bunker over the green and then lipped out with a six-footer.
The cheque for almost £279,000 was more than £100,000 more than Kingston had earned all season – he had missed his last four cuts to drop down in 116th place on the Tour money list.
“A week ago I didn’t even know I was in the event,” he said. “I spoke to the lady who does my travel arrangements and she asked what I was doing.
“I said I wasn’t playing and she replied ‘What do you mean – you’re in.’ I didn’t know it at that stage.
“One minute you don’t even think you are playing and the next you win it.
“It’s like the South African Open. I was injured a couple of days beforehand and didn’t think I could play and I went on to win that. Two wins and both of them unexpected.”
Hansen, who lost another play-off in Germany to Martin Kaymer last year, commented: “I thought I hit a decent bunker shot and putt, but it wasn’t to be.
“I would have taken second coming in here because I wasn’t too happy with my game. Mentally I’ve been struggling and losing my confidence, but the last four days have been great.”
Joint third only one behind – all of them needed to birdie the 18th to make the play-off – were England’s Simon Dyson, Swede Peter Hanson and another Dane, Soren Hansen.
Dyson, who won the KLM Open in Holland last month, left a closing 20-foot chance just short.
“It was like lightning at the last and when I hit it I thought it was in,” said the York golfer, now 21st on the money list and part of the Britain and Ireland team to play Continental Europe in Paris next week.
“I’m not too disappointed. My eye doesn’t suit the course so anything in the top three was great.”

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