West Australian golfer Scott Strange has captured his first European Tour title by winning the Wales Open by four strokes at Celtic Manor.
Strange carded a closing seven-under 64 for a 22-under 262 total.
Swede Robert Karlsson, Strange’s only serious challenger in the latter stages, also closed with a 64 as both players produced a string of birdies.
Strange, leading the field by three strokes overnight was never headed. The 31 year old from Perth strengthened his position with five birdies in seven holes, although Karlsson’s run of six birdies in a row around the turn saw him draw within two strokes of the lead.
But Karlsson, the 2006 winner, found water to bogey the 14th and his assault on the title faded away.
“I had no idea how Robert was doing or anyone else until when we walked to the 16th tee I asked my caddie if I was in the lead and he told me we had it by four,” Strange said.
Strange took charge of the event with an opening 63 over the Twenty Ten course that will host the 2010 Ryder Cup.
“This win will mean the world to my family and put a smile on a special person’s face,” he said.
The A$620,000 win was the biggest in Strange’s career and will also give him exemption in Europe until the end of 2010.
Meanwhile, Tasmanian Matthew Goggin is trying to stay upbeat after blowing a three shot lead in what would have been his first win in 185 US PGA career starts.
A poor start effectively cost the 33 year old Australian the Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village when he started with two nervous bogeys in the first four holes.
“I played well enough but the first four holes were just rubbish,” Goggin admitted. “I learnt I have a little bit of character and was able to pull through after a shocking start and not completely throw the thing in the toilet.
“It just took me four holes to calm down, and that was the difference.”
Goggin was already focusing on what he could take with him from the experience to his next task – a tough 36-hole US Open sectional qualifier in Memphis.
“It’s important to qualify, because I’m playing well and I feel like the US Open suits the way I play,” he told reporters.
“It would be nice to have a three-shot lead going into Sunday there and try again.” he suggested hopefully.