After a roller-coaster final round, Australian left-hander Richard Green prevailed at the first play-off hole to claim the BA-CA Open at Fontana Golf Club, near Vienna. The 36-year-old had come down the 72nd needing just a par to win his second Tour title, exactly 10 years and 100 days after he beat both Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam in a play-off at the Dubai Desert Classic.
However, nerves got the better of the man who has come so close on numerous occasions in the past few years and after rushing his birdie putt at the par-5 18th 4ft past, he lipped out for the title-winning par and was forced into a play-off. Facing him was double Open de France champion, Jean-Francois Remesy who had stormed through the field with five birdies in the last six holes to set the clubhouse target of -16.
The two men returned to the 18th tee with the tension clearly palpable. This time it was Remesy who found the occasion too much as his approach found the rocks on the banks of the greenside lake and the best he could do was a bogey-six. A chip from the back of the green to within inches of the hole saved Green the agony of having to hole out and he was crowned champion at last.
The drama had started early on in Vienna with intense lightning and thunderstorms forcing the final round to be delayed by two hours in the afternoon. Then Spanish star Miguel Angel Jimenez claimed a rogue cameraman on the 18th tee hampered his victory chances. The former Ryder Cup star, who was just one behind teeing it up, said he was disturbed by a camera repeatedly clicking during his backswing. A par was the best he could muster and he finished tied with Michael Jonzon of Sweden and England?s Chris Gane ? who holed a 30-ft eagle putt at the last for his best ever Tour finish.
But the day belonged to Green. “I was probably as nervous as I’ve ever been on the 18th green and I think that showed with the three putts,? said Green. ?I am at the prime of my career and I always felt that I would win again.?
-16 Richard Green (AUS), Jean-Francois Remesy (FRA)
-15 Chris Gane (ENG), Michael Jonzon (SWE), Miguel Angel Jimenez (SPA)
-14 Stephen Gallacher (SCO)