Date: August 27, 2007

Fisher holds on for victory

England&aposs Ross Fisher survived a nerve-wracking finish and lengthy rules investigation before claiming his first European Tour title in extraordinary fashion in the KLM Open in Zandvoort. Fisher saw a four-shot lead disappear over the closing stretch before somehow regaining his composure to birdie the last from 10 feet and seemingly secure a one-shot victory over local favourite Joost Luiten. Scotland&aposs Alastair Forsyth, Germany&aposs Bernhard Langer, Swede Alexander Noren, France&aposs Thomas Levet and New Zealand&aposs Steve Alker shared third place on eight-under, while overnight joint leader David Carter slumped to a closing 75 for a share of 23rd place. Brett Rumford closed with a final round of 67 to be the leading Australian in equal 17th position at five-under, while fellow Australian David Bransdon finished tied for 27th at three-under. Before Fisher could sign his card he was informed of a potential rules violation on the 12th hole and driven off in a buggy to investigate. The debate centred on whether Fisher had moved a bramble from near his ball before playing his second shot to the par five. The 26-year-old initially thought it was a loose impediment which he could move, but discovered it was still attached to the ground. Tour officials Miguel Vidaor and Jose Maria Zamora accompanied Fisher as they tried to recreate the incident and study television footage to see whether he had improved his stance. Eventually Fisher was cleared of any wrongdoing and could celebrate lifting the trophy. “I feel very lucky and fortunate to be standing here as the winner,” admitted Fisher, who signed for a closing 67 and 12-under total of 268. “I was ecstatic one minute and then suddenly it was not looking so good. “I read the rule and thought &aposChrist, what have I done?&apos The buggy ride to the 12th was the longest of my life and to stand there for 15-20 minutes looking at the footage was terrible. “I feel very privileged that they said to me &aposYou haven&apost done anything wrong, you&aposre the winner&apos. I went to move it thinking it was a loose impediment but it wasn&apost and I just left it.” Fisher looked to be cruising to victory when he led by four shots with three to play after four birdies in 13 holes, but then three-putted the 16th and 17th as Luiten – playing three groups ahead – birdied the 16th and 18th. “I just tried to suck it up,” added Fisher, who led after 54 holes of the BMW Championship on his home course of Wentworth earlier this season only to crumble to a closing 84. “I thought &aposYou&aposve still got a chance&apos and although I was a bit angry on the 18th tee I just tried to compose myself and trust my swing. “I thought I&aposd left the putt short but to see it disappear brought a tear to my eyes almost.” Luiten is just 21 years old but has won twice on the Challenge Tour already this season courtesy of closing rounds of 64 and 61, and carded a flawless 66 today. “I am happy with the way I played and the spectators, they were great,” said Luiten. “I loved playing in front of so many people and it was a great stimulus for me to play well. “It would have been great to win but I would not have wanted to win it by someone else getting a penalty.” After his first event for a month since undergoing surgery to remove kidney stones, Langer said: “Overall I played fairly decent. It must have taken us 45 minutes to play the seventh hole as we both looked for balls for five minutes and then had to find a place to drop. “I felt I left out some shots out there but that is golf and this course is so brutal.” The former Ryder Cup captain turns 50 tomorrow and will make his seniors debut on the Champions Tour at Pebble Beach on Thursday. “There are some great players out there and I will be a rookie next week but then there will be new rookies coming along,” he said. “I think I will enjoy myself and that is what I&aposm trying to do right now.” Young Australian Matthew Millar tied for 65th place at five-over-par, while compatriot Wade Ormsby finished in equal 70th at nine-over. Final Round of the KLM Open, Netherlands, (Par 70): -12: Ross Fisher 66 67 68 67 -11: Joost Luiten 68 64 71 66 -8: Steve Alker (New Zealand) 66 66 69 71, Alastair Forsyth 66 71 69 66, Bernhard Langer 67 71 67 67, Thomas Levet 65 70 68 69, Alexander Noren 65 67 72 68 -7: Markus Brier 67 68 70 68, Stephen Gallacher 70 68 66 69, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet 64 71 70 68, Tom Whitehouse 68 67 71 67 also: -6: Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 65 71 69 69 -5: Brett Rumford (Australia) 69 70 69 67 -3: David Bransdon (Australia) 68 69 70 70 +5: Matthew Millar (Australia) 68 71 72 74 +9: Wade Ormsby (Australia) 69 70 75 75