Date: June 25, 2007

Fasth holds off German veteran

Swede Niclas Fasth has won the BMW International in Munich by two shots while Peter Fowler was the leading Australian in joint 33rd position. Fasth praised Bernhard Langer for having &aposthe stuff of champions&apos after stopping the 49-year-old German from achieving perhaps the most remarkable victory of his amazing career. Trying to become the oldest winner in European Tour history, Langer had been close to pulling out of the BMW International in Munich with a neck injury as an opening 76 left him way down in 135th place. But after treatment on and off the course he shot a 66, then a 68 and when he made a 25-foot putt for his fifth birdie of the final round he had come from 11 back on Thursday to just one behind Fasth. However, seven days after finishing fourth in the United States Open, former Ryder Cup team-mate Fasth was not to be denied the first prize. The 35-year-old, who had wobbled with a double bogey at the 10th when he was distracted by a referee timing him for slow play, holed from 14 feet for par at the 15th, saved his four from off the green again on the next and then doubled his lead with a seven-foot birdie putt at the 189-yard 17th. Apart from his age Langer would have also gone into the Tour record books as the first player to win an event after surviving the halfway cut with nothing to spare. But, as he feared after failing to birdie the par five last, it was not to be. A month after losing to South African Rory Sabbatini in a play-off on the US Tour he was second again – for the fifth time in this particular event. Fasth, now closing on a place in the world&aposs top 20, said after capturing his sixth Tour title with a par at the last for a 70 and 13-under total: “I made a mistake by not looking at leaderboards until the 15th. “I was very tired all week (not surprising after his performance in the States) and wanted to keep my energy, but I need to my fiery excitement and when I saw that Bernhard was only one behind it got me going. “I holed three good putts on the next three greens and won, but I have to say how impressed I was by Bernhard, especially considering his first round. That&aposs the stuff of champions.” Langer, who was joined in the runners-up spot when Portugal&aposs Jose-Filipe Lima birdied the last, stated: “It&aposs fantastic playing in front of your home crowd – some of the roars were so big I almost got goosebumps. “Once in a while the old swing and the old talent turns up, but not often enough. “Several times in the first round I thought I would not continue. My neck was really, really bad. But I didn&apost feel it the last three days and if everything had gone my way I could have done it. “I had a couple of bad breaks on the back nine. At the 11th I rolled two feet too far and ran out of fairway into a bad lie and then on the last it was a bad swing, but I had such a bad lie again I couldn&apost aim for the flag with my chip. “It was a shame about the injury. Who knows what might have happened? “But a few years ago I was eight under, then got food poisoning and it kind of ruined the week. What can you do?” Lima shared the overnight lead with Fasth, but the closing bogey was only for a 72. Having missed the cut in his previous six events, however, there was still plenty for him to feel satisfied with. That was not the case for England&aposs Nick Dougherty. Eighth at Oakmont last week he had wanted to win to make almost certain of a place in the Open next month, but after going into the final day third with 47-year-old South African David Frost both managed only 77 and fell to 26th place. To avoid the qualifying at Sunningdale on Monday week he probably needs a top four finish in the French Open, starting on Thursday. After that two Open places are awarded and Welshman Bradley Dredge and Australian Richard Green are in position to take them at the moment. Ernie Els, meanwhile, climbed to joint seventh with a 67 before flying home to South Africa. His next appearance is the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond on July 12-15. Fowler was well placed for an excellent finish but made two bogeys and a quadruple bogey in his final four holes to drop back into the pack. The man they call &aposChook&apos finished the tournament at three-under-par in a tie for 33rd position, while fellow Australian veteran Terry Price carded a final round of 72 to finish equal 45th at level par. Compatriot Brett Rumford fired a final round of 75 to finish at four-over-par and in outright 56th. Final results from BMW International Open: -13: Niclas Fasth 67 65 73 70 -11: Bernhard Langer 76 66 68 67, Jose-Filipe Lima 65 70 70 72 -10: Ricardo Gonzalez 68 71 69 70, Anders Hansen 68 70 72 68, Maarten Lafeber 71 67 73 67 -9: Ernie Els 67 71 74 67, Simon Khan 70 71 72 66 Also: -3: Peter Fowler (Australia) 68 73 71 73 E: Terry Price (Australia) 74 68 74 72 +4: Brett Rumford (Australia) 70 70 77 75