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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 March 2006, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Van de Velde holds on in Madeira
FOURTH-ROUND LEADERBOARD
Jean van de Velde
GB&Ire unless stated
-15 J van de Velde (Fra)
-14 L Slattery
-13 P Linhart (Spa)
-12 S Wakefield
-10 M Eliasson (Swe), R Finch
Selected others:
-9 J Sandelin (Swe), T Whitehouse
-8 D McGrane
France's Jean Van de Velde held off Lee Slattery of England on the back nine to seal his first European Tour title in 13 years at the Madeira Island Open.

The Frenchman, two strokes clear at the start of play, led by five shots at one stage and looked set for an easy win.

However, a double bogey at the last threatened to scupper his hopes, only for him to seal victory by one shot.

Slattery began poorly but eight birdies lifted him to 14 under, one ahead of Spain's Pedro Linhart in third place.

England's Simon Wakefield, at one point in contention after three birdies in the first four holes, completed a third successive round of 68 to finish fourth on 12 under.

However, Sweden's Mattias Eliasson shot the round of the day with nine birdies and a bogey leading him to a superb 64 and a share of fifth alongside England's Richard Finch.

But Van de Velde insisted he never feared a repeat of his 1999 Open disaster, despite his last-hole nightmare.

I wasn't nervous - what (at Carnoustie) was a freaky circumstance
Jean van de Velde

The 37-year-old finished with a triple-bogey seven at Carnoustie that year to throw away a three-shot lead, but at Santo da Serra on Sunday he said: "I knew a six would win it so I wasn't nervous.

"I found the nastiest patch of grass on the whole course, but what happened many years ago (at Carnoustie) was a freaky circumstance."

But he admitted his relief that victory would grant him the freedom to pick and choose his tournaments as he continues his recovery from a long-standing knee injury.

"Last year I was blessed to get my card back and this year I'm blessed to have it for another two years.

"It gives me a lot of oxygen to breathe and I can now take weeks off if my knee gives me too much trouble."

Slattery, who edged out Linhart for second with a long birdie putt at the last, added: "This is just what I needed to get my confidence up."


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