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VIENNA: Local hero Bernd Wiesberger shot a seven-under-par 65 yesterday to snatch the Austrian Open after a major loss of form by Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, the star of the first three rounds.
Wiesberger finished 19 under on the par-72 course at Atzenbrugg, near Vienna, three shots clear of Irishman Shane Lowry and Thomas Levet of France after sinking seven birdies in the last 10 holes -- including from a 50-foot putt on 18.
“I actually could have made birdies on the other three holes. I knew that if I could hit good shots I could get lots of birdies,” the delighted 26-year-old said. “And it went perfectly.”
It was Wiesberger’s second European Tour title of the year following his triumph at the Ballantine’s Championship in April, and he becomes the second Austrian to win his home Open after Markus Brier in 2006.
“It’s the best day of my life so far,” Wiesberger said. “It seems like it went my way, especially the last two holes.
“I had such a great country and such great fans backing me. I’m very proud to be following in such big footsteps (as Brier). I’m sure I’m not going to be the last home winner.”
Rain drenched the opening day on Wednesday, forcing a suspension, and organisers called off play on Thursday over fears of lightning.
However, summer returned on Friday and Saturday with lots of sunshine and just a light breeze.
Olesen, who had topped the leader board on days one, two and three, saw the magic disappear in the final round, hitting a two-over 74 and bogeying three of the last five holes to finish five behind in fifth place at 14 under.
On the opening round Olesen had tied first place with Pablo Larrazabal of Spain after an eight-under 64 that equalled the course record, followed by two rounds of 68 to be three shots clear with one round to play.
Lowry shot a 66 in the final round, his lowest score of the tournament, after an eagle on the par-five six and two sets of back-to-back birdies on the back nine.
Levet, who had hit a 65 on the opening day, managed a four-under 68 after three birdies on the back nine. He was in contention until a bogey five on the 17th -- for the second day running.
Rikard Karlberg of Sweden was fourth at 15 under after a two-under 70 in the final round.
Tied in sixth place at 13 under were Scotsman Chris Doak, after a four-under final round, and Benjamin Hebert of France.
Meanwhile, Stacy Lewis, the leader from round one, recovered from a sticky patch to post a 73 yesterday but will go into the final round of the Evian Masters tied with South Korean Park Inbee.
Lewis, the 27-year-old American, birdied the 18th from 20 feet to rescue a one over par score on a day of heavy showers. Park also made four at the long final hole for a 70 and the pair were tied on 11 under par.
Three players shared third place on ten under - Australia’s Karrie Webb, the 2006 champion, shot 67, American Natalie Gulbis, the 2007 winner, fired a 68 and the 17-year-old South Korean amateur, Kim Hyo Joo, had a fine 69.
Lewis, seeking a third win of the season, was three ahead after birdies at the ninth and 12th. But she bogeyed the 12th and 14th - just as she had done on Friday - and then took a double-bogey seven at the long 15th.
With a duck and her ducklings wandering on the fairway, a distracted Lewis chunked her third shot short of the green. She then mishit the next chip and ran up the ugly seven.
But she was delighted to hit back with the birdie at the 18th to stay at the top.
“I was so pleased to make the birdie at the last and make sure I was in the last group tomorrow,” she said.
Park, the 2008 US Women’s Open Champion, also had a hiccup with bogeys at the 11th and 154th. But she had four birdies - and came close to an eagle at the 18th where she hit her second shot to 12 feet.
“Because of the rain and the weather, today was by far the toughest day,” said Park. “It is nice to see a Korean amateur (Kim) up there. I have never played with her but her game must be very good.”
Webb is the former world No.1 with 38 LPGA titles in a stunning career and she attributed the better score to form with her putter.
“Today was my best round but I actually didn’t hit the ball so well,” admitted the 37-year-old seven-time major winner whose last win was in the LPGA Founders Cup in March last year.” agencies