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Huldahl takes shock Welsh victory

FINAL LEADERBOARD:
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-9 J Huldahl (Den) -8 N Fasth (Swe) -7 I Garrido (Sp) -6 G Lockerbie, D Willett Selected others:
-4 R Ramsay -3 P McGinley -2 M-A Jiminez (Sp) +3 C Montgomerie, N Dougherty +4 C Pavin (US)


Jeppe Huldahl with the winners trophy
Huldahl did not drop a shot in his final round

Little-known Dane Jeppe Huldahl became the third shock victor on the European Tour in just four weeks after winning the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.

Following Irish amateur Shane Lowry and world number 449 Christian Cevaer, the 26-year-old ranked 377th beat Ryder Cup Swede Niclas Fasth by one shot.

It was his first top-10 finish on the tour in 45 attempts spanning six years.

"I knew I was doing well, but I didn't know how well until I asked my caddie on the 18th tee," he said.

"He told me I needed a par - and it's nice to have a par five and have a chance to lay up. But I couldn't put winning out of my head and it was quite emotional."

FROM BBC WORLD SERVICE

The £300,000 first prize was almost 30 times Huldahl's previous biggest cheque, but he won in style on the course which in October next year will stage America's defence of the Ryder Cup.

The 2008 Challenge Tour graduate went into the final round as joint leader with England's Nick Dougherty and Spaniard Ignacio Garrido but he held his nerve superbly with a a four-under-par round of 67.

Fasth joined him at the top of the leaderboard with an eagle on the long 11th, but Huldahl responded with birdies at the next two holes.

Although the Swede had birdies at the 13th and 15th, he dropped shots at the next two holes and despite piling on the pressure again with a closing 20-foot putt, Huldahl parred the last seven holes to triumph.

Fasth's 66 gave him second with Garrido in third a further shot back but Dougherty had a nightmare final round 79 to slip down to 37th.

Halfway leader Richie Ramsay, meanwhile, finished tied 10th, but it was a weekend the Scot will not forget in a hurry.

After two-hour talks with officials late on Saturday night he escaped a two-stroke penalty over an incident on the eighth when he pressed down ground behind his ball in testing for casual water.

606: DEBATE
Mayoman

But on Sunday he had his par five on the last turned into a six because of the way he took relief on the fairway.

"I didn't sleep because I was concerned about what people might think and my head was in a bit of a spin," said the Tour rookie, who during his US Amateur victory three years ago lost two holes over rules matters.

"A lot of things go through your head, but all I can do is tell the truth.

"That's what golf is about - honesty and etiquette. Being up most of the night it wasn't the easiest thing to come out and play. I just need to sit down now, have a rest and clear my head."

Tour chief referee John Paramor, shaking his head in disbelief when the second incident happened, said of the first: "He now knows that's not the way to go about it.

"If he's absolutely positive he did not improve his area of swing then I can't impose a penalty on him based on what I've seen. I must have looked at it about 20 times on television, but we had only one camera angle."

Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin finished 38th and 43rd respectively on three and four over.



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Cevaer clinches European Open win
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Ryder captains set for Wales Open
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Wales Open - former winners
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