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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Bjorn beats Casey to Irish title
FINAL LEADERBOARD
Thomas Bjorn
GB&I unless stated
-5 T Bjorn (Den)
-4 P Casey
-3 D Clarke
-2 P Hedblom (Swe)
Selected others:
level P Harrington
+11 I Poulter
Denmark's Thomas Bjorn birdied the 18th hole to win the rain-hit Irish Open by one stroke from England's Paul Casey.

Bjorn shot a 72 on the additional day at Carton House to finish on five under par, while Casey could only manage a 73 after a par at the last.

Darren Clarke's hope of becoming the first home winner in 24 years went when he fluffed a chip into the 18th green.

He finished third on three under after a 73, one stroke ahead of Sweden's Peter Hedblom who carded a 74.

Bjorn equalled the European Tour's best ever recovery after shooting 78 in the first round.

"You could say this country owes me one, that's for sure" said Bjorn, 35, who led by four shots going into the final round of last year's European Open at the K Club only to card an 86.

"I've lost in a play-off in the Irish Open (in 2003) 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 (the Ryder Cup at the K Club) and I needed to win early in the summer.

"At least now I've given myself a chance. After the first round, I didn't think much was going my way again. In the end, it was last man standing."

Bjorn, who now has nine European Tour wins, holed out from eight feet after watching Clarke and Casey miss chances on the par-five 18th.

Clarke could only three-putt after duffing his pitch, while his Ryder Cup team-mate Casey did the same.

However, Ulsterman Clarke emerged with enormous credit after an incident on the ninth hole when play resumed on Monday 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 the 37-year-old Clarke insisted on chipping out sideways and ended up with a bogey five.

"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," said Clarke.

"I could have hit it onto the front of the green but if I had done I would have held my head in shame, so I just decided to chip it out and play it like I would have last night."



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