Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tears Flow as Levet Snatches Open Spot

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tears Flow as Levet Snatches Open Spot

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Garrod

Thomas Levet came up with the round of his life yesterday to win the Barclays Scottish Open ( and grab a place in this week's Open at Royal Troon.

Seven strokes behind with 18 holes to go, the 35-year-old from Paris came within a stroke of the Loch Lomond course record with a dazzling 63.

Trying and failing to hold back the tears Levet said: "It's just unreal. I so desperately wanted to play the Open. More than anyone.

"When you play like this it is a dream come true. Every shot I was trying to play was coming off and even the bad ones didn't finish too badly.

"A win is a win, but playing in the Open is something else."

As well as giving him the pounds 366,660 first prize and a return to the event in which he lost a play-off to Ernie Els at Muirfield two years ago, it could lead to Europe having two French players in the Ryder Cup in September.

Jean-Francois Remesy won the French Open two weeks ago and leapt from 24th to seventh in the table.

Now Levet has jumped from 25th to ninth with only eight more qualifying events to come.

Ashington's Kenneth Ferrie was left to rue a disappointing round of 72 on Saturday.

Yet his never-say-die challenge ended with a second 68 of the tournament yesterday ( and a joint 16th place finish, six shots behind Levet.

Given Ferrie's three sub-70 rounds, the former British Boys and Spanish Open champion has every reason to feel in fine fettle for Troon.

Levet was home in a blistering 29 after an eagle, three birdies and then a fantastic approach to under three feet on the 430-yard last.

The 2001 British Masters champion ( Levet was without a victory since then ( had to wait to see if his 15-under-par total of 269 was good enough.

Amazingly, everything fell into place for him as, one by one, those who had been ahead of him made crucial mistakes.

Overnight leaders Gregory Havret and Marcus Fraser, both also seeking that one Open spot on offer to the leading non-exempt player in the tournament, managed only 74 and 73 respectively.

England's David Howell, South African Martin Maritz and New Zealander Michael Campbell grabbed at least a share of the lead, but Howell then bogeyed the 13th and 14th while Maritz double-bogeyed the 16th.

That left Campbell as the main danger. He was out on his own in front after birdies at the 12th and 13th, but last year's Irish Open champion drove into a ditch at the 14th and thinned a bunker shot on the next.

Both led to bogeys and after a birdie at the difficult 16th brought him back to only one behind he narrowly failed with birdie putts on the final two greens.

He was second on his own, while Howell shared third spot with defending champion Ernie Els, who needed three birdies in the last five to tie by could manage only one.

The winning birdie for Levet had not come as easily as he had hoped. …

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