A decade after his last European Tour success, Per-Ulrik Johansson cruised to a six-shot victory at the Russian Open Golf Championship in Moscow on Sunday.
Beginning the final day with a commanding four stroke lead, the 40-year-old Swede carded his second successive 67 to take home the winner?s cheque for £164,282, ahead of Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, who closed with a 69, and Scotland?s Alan McLean, who posted a final round of 68.
Derksen and McLean applied early pressure with birdies at the opening hole but Johansson responded with four birdies on the outward nine. Despite a slightly erratic series of tee shots on the back nine, the Swede was deadly on the greens as he secured his first title since the 1997 Smurfit European Open at The K Club.
?I feel great,? said Johansson. ?I haven?t won since 1997. I have played some good golf since then but I haven?t played this well so I am very, very pleased. I think my putting was the best I have ever putted through a whole tournament. I can?t remember making that many putts.?
Johansson now stands 69th in the European Order of Merit and the two-time Ryder Cup star is now exempt until the end of the 2009 season.
-23 Per-Ulrik Johansson (Swe)
-17 Robert-Jan Derksen (Ned)
-16 Alan McLean (Sco)
-13 Adam Gee (Eng), Dawie Van Der Walt (RSA)
Steve Flesch battled the conditions, as well as his challengers, to mark his return to form with a five-stroke victory at the Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux Golf & Country Club in Nevada.
The 40-year-old left hander had struggled to just two top-ten finishes in 2007, but an opening 63 showed he had re-discovered the form that helped him rise to 24th in the World Rankings in 2004.
Flesch began the final day with a five-shot advantage over Steve Allan, Todd Fischer and PGA Tour rookie John Merrick. Each failed to mount a serious challenge, closing with rounds of 77, 76 and 74 respectively, leaving the way clear for the now three-time PGA Tour winner to cruise home at 15-under par. Kevin Stadler and Charles Warren tied for second on 10-under.
?It was a tough two years, but I’m glad to be back in the winner’s circle,” said Flesch. “I made a few mistakes out there today but it was a tough, windy day. I just hit it so well I couldn’t help but to win to be honest with you.”
Flesch takes home the $540,000 winner?s cheque, becoming the first player to lead wire-to-wire on the PGA Tour this season, in the process he also books his place in the end-of-season Tour Championship for the ninth time in his nine seasons on Tour.
-15 Steve Flesch (USA)
-10 Kevin Stadler (USA), Charles Warren (USA)
-8 Rich Barcelo (USA), John Merrick (USA)
-7 Brendon De Jonge (Zim), Steve Elkington (Aus), Shaun Micheel (USA)