European Open


World number 449 Christian Cévaër beat a star field and one of the toughest holes in golf to win The European Open.

After an amazing weekend which saw no fewer than 45 changes of the lead, the 39 year old, whose only previous European Tour victory was the 2004 Spanish Open, beat Steve Webster, Gary Orr and Alvaro Quiros by a shot.

His winning total of 281, seven under par, was 13 strokes more than Ross Fisher took on the same The London Golf Club course last year - and his 74 was the highest last round by a winner all season.

But while Webster and Quiros both became more victims of the 471 yard last when tied for the lead - both carved their drives into the crowd, with Quiros hitting spectators with his first and second shots - Cévaër kept his nerve.

During the week the par four played to an average of nearly 4.7, with 154 bogeys, 48 doubles and 26 sevens or worse, but Cévaër parred it the first two days, birdied it in the third round and finished with the par he needed.

"I'm not a long player, but I used my utility club and it worked out great," he said after being showered with champagne.

"I made a point that no matter what happened just enjoy my golf, enjoy my skills and hang in there."

He played the front nine in 39 and did not have a birdie until the long 15th, but the problems meant that it brought him back into a share of top spot.

And then three closing pars were good enough to give him the €341,220 first prize - easily the biggest of his 16 year professional career.

At 196th on The Race to Dubai entering the week he would have been delighted just to secure his card for next season, but now he has a five year European Tour exemption.

The victory will also lift Cévaër more than 300 places in the world.