Fowler 5th behind Russell in France

BY European Tour | 24 Sep 2012

Englishman David J Russell put on a golfing master-class to win the French Riviera Masters, beating American Tim Thelen in a play-off after a brilliant 65 in the final round at Terre Blanche Resort and Golf Club.

The 58 year old needed three holes to win in sudden death, with both players twice making par at the 18th before Thelen bogeyed at the third attempt. That was his first dropped shot in 39 holes – two rounds of 66 taking him to eight under and tied for the lead in regulation play – but it handed the title to his rival, who made another four.

For much of the day it had looked to be Roger Chapman’s day, but there was late drama when the Englishman bogeyed the 16th and 18th to slip back to seven under with a 71. However, his consolation prize was that he now has an unassailable lead at the top of the Order of Merit and will be crowned Europe’s Number One after a remarkable season which has featured two Senior Major Championship victories.

Russell made eight birdies in the last round for the lowest score of the week, and was delighted to claim his second Senior Tour title.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Russell, who won €60,000. “It’s a shame that other people’s mistakes let you in, but I thought the golf was exceptional this afternoon and the scoring was excellent. It was unlucky for Tim there, but I’m absolutely delighted.

Chapman was frustrated to have thrown away victory, which would have continued his fairy tale season following triumphs in the US Senior PGA Championship and the US Senior Open, but he was philosophical about the result.

“I came here at the start of the week to consolidate number one spot in the Order of Merit and I’ve done that,” said the 53 year old. “I just wanted to beat Barry Lane (second in the Order of Merit) and I’ve done that, so every cloud has a silver lining.

Peter Fowler led the Australians when he finished in a share of 5th. Fowler is in third position on the money list behind Roger Chapman and Barry Lane.

Leading scores:

208 D Russell (Eng) 69 74 65, T Thelen (USA) 76 66 66,
209 R Chapman (Eng) 71 67 71, P Wesselingh (Eng) 71 69 69,
211 D Smyth (Irl) 72 70 69, I Woosnam (Wal) 71 71 69, P Fowler (Aus) 71 69 71,
212 M Cunning (USA) 73 71 68, J Sallat (Fra) 68 74 70,
213 C Williams (RSA) 69 70 74, B Cameron (Eng) 70 70 73,
214 G Wolstenholme (Eng) 74 68 72, A Forsbrand (Swe) 69 72 73, M Harwood (Aus) 72 71 71, G Manson (Aut) 73 71 70,
215 M Martin (Esp) 75 72 68,

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