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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 July, 2003, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Faldo promises 'final blast'
Nick Faldo reflects on a costly missed putt on the 10th green
Vital missed putts cost Faldo dear
Nick Faldo was left to reflect on what might have been after some costly missed putts ruined his hopes of a fourth Open title.

The Englishman, two days on from his 46th birthday, briefly threatened to launch an assault on a seventh Major victory at Sandwich.

For the second day running he stirred memories of his golden heyday when Britain's most successful golfer garnered three Opens and three Masters crowns.

But after getting himself to level par with a birdie on the 14th hole, three successive bogeys on his subsequent three holes finally ended Faldo's challenge.

After a stunning 67 on Saturday, a new record for the lengthened Royal St George's, he had to settle for a closing-round 70 to finish on three over and a share of eighth place.

But as he walked up the 18th fairway to be greeted by a scoreboard flashing 'Faldo for King', the veteran raised the arm of caddie Fanny Sunesson in a boxer's victory salute.

I've had 72 good walks this week and the last 36 in particular were very special
Nick Faldo
And after revelling in the applause of a rapturous crowd, Faldo vowed to do "everything" to give himself the best chance of making next year's Ryder Cup team.

"My big goal now is to really work on my stamina," he said. "At my age it affects me and I slowed up a bit.

"When I looked and saw the leader was five under that got me down and I switched off and thought I was just playing for position, and I finished badly.

"Now I'm going to gear myself up for September to get as many points as I can for the Ryder Cup.

"I'm going to do everything I can with my schedule and fitness. I'm going to give it one real good blast and see what happens. I've got to tell myself I can still do it."

'As good as anybody'

Faldo began the day at four over par, but closed to within two of the lead with a birdie three at the fifth before holing out from 30 feet for an eagle three on the seventh.

But he missed from two feet on the eighth and further missed putts on the 10th and 12th stalled his momentum.

Faldo fought back with further birdies at 11 and 14, the latter taking him into fourth place - a position he had not occupied so deep into a Major since the 1996 Open.

But at the 15th his usually reliable driver deposited the ball in a fairway bunker to spark a flurry of three successive bogeys, two with putts of no more than four feet.

"I shot six under for 42 holes here and that's as good as anybody," Faldo added.

"It wasn't to be but I've had 72 good walks this week and the last 36 in particular were very special."





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