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Sunday, July 18, 1999 Published at 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK


Quel désastre - Van de Velde's 18th

Van de Velde goes paddling in the Barry Burn

Jean Van de Velde could have double bogeyed the final hole of the Open at Carnoustie and still walked away as champion.

But he squandered a three shot advantage with a triple bogey to set up a title play-off with Justin Leonard of the US and Aberdeen's Paul Lawrie, which the Scot won.

The 152nd-ranked player in the world looked certain to become the first Frenchman to lift the Claret Jug since 1907, until the moment he mis-hit the ball on the 18th tee and his plans went horribly awry.

Before he play started on Sunday, Van de Velde said: "If I blow it, what did you expect? I'm not the number one in the world - not yet" - words that have clearly come back to haunt him.

Here is how he did it:

Shot 1: Using a driver off the 18th tee, Van de Velde sends a wild shot onto the fairway of the 17th.

Shot 2: Things go seriously wrong as his iron shot also veers dramatically right and ends up in the heavy rough. The only thing that prevents it going out of bounds into the crowd is a ricochet off the grandstand

Shot 3: It cannot get any worse as he underhits the chip and sends the ball straight into the Barry Burn water hazard, where the ball sits up on a rock just proud of the surface.

Shot 4: Van de Velde takes off his shoes and socks, rolls up his trousers and climbs into the water. The ball is disturbed and sinks, forcing the hapless Frenchman to take a drop.

Shot 5: The chip is more successful, clearing the Burn, but lands in a green-side bunker.

Shot 6: Van de Velde splashes out and lands within 8ft of the pin, moments after his partner, Australian Craig Parry, hit out of the same bunker and holed it - the exact shot the Frenchman needed.

Shot 7: By no means an easy putt, he sinks it to secure his place in the play-off.

In fact, Van de Velde went into the final day on level par for the championship, five strokes clear of Parry and Leonard in second place.

Lawrie, the eventual winner, was 10 over after the third day and few considered him a possibility for the title.

But an inspired last round of 67 - equalling Parry's course best for this Open and included six birdies - put him in contention at six over.

And two birdies in the four-hole play-off, including one on the 18th, secured the win for Scotland.



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