Date: June 30, 2008

Green seals fourth in France

Richard Green&aposs final-round charge fell short as smiling Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal took out the French Open in Paris. The Australian fired a closing four-under-par 67 to finish outright fourth on eight-under, seven shots behind Larrazabal Even with former No.1&aposs Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood chasing him, the 25-year-old who five years ago was caddying for his brother in the event stormed to a four-shot win. Larrazabal, who came through 36 holes of qualifying to make it to Le Golf National, entered the tournament 481st in the world and even described himself as &aposthe 150th best player here&apos. But, leader from the moment he opened with a 65, he clinched the first prize with a dramatic and inspired closing 67. As a result the European Tour rookie will play his first major at next month&aposs Open Championship, has secured a place on the circuit for the next two years and is even in the top 20 of the Ryder Cup race. Until his win he was not even in the top 100. Larrazabal, rated a 200-1 shot before the start, finished on 15-under with Montgomerie, in easily his best display of the year, runner-up and Westwood, third in the US Open two weeks ago, dropping to joint fifth after going in the lake on the last. Peter O&aposMalley tied for 13th place at four-under after a fourth-round 70, while Scott Barr finished at one-under and Rick Kulacz was well down the field at five-over. This was only the 17th Tour event Larrazabal had played in his life, although his past experiences do include The Masters at Augusta – again as a caddie for his brother Alejandro, British amateur champion in 2002. Until this achievement he was only the fourth best-known golfer in his family as both parents were internationals. Father Gustavo made him work on a fish farm before turning professional to get an idea of what hard work is and learn the value of money. His previous best finish was 15th and he had never previously come within eight strokes of the winner, but now he charges from 128th on the Order of Merit into the leading 10 and up more than 300 places on the world rankings. Two Opens spots were up for grabs off a mini-money list running for the past eight weeks and Larrazabal joins Australian Scott Strange, winner of the Wales Open, in claiming those. Larrazabal continues a sequence of shock winners of the event started by Malcolm Mackenzie in 2002. Since then Phil Golding, Jean-Francois Remesy (twice), John Bickerton and Graeme Storm have put their names on the trophy, but none was as big a surprise as this. The Spaniard is the first qualifier to win a European Tour event since Kiwi Michael Campbell at the 2005 US Open. Final Round Scores from the Golf French Open -15: Pablo Larrazabal 65 70 67 67 -11: Colin Montgomerie 69 68 68 68 -10: Soren Hansen 69 69 67 69 -8: Richard Green (Australia) 73 71 65 67 -7: Marcus Brier 70 71 66 70, Lee Westwood 69 68 69 71, Oliver Fisher 66 73 69 71, Soren Kjeldsen 72 71 66 70, Paul Kjeldsen 72 71 66 70, Paul McGinley 71 73 70 65, Otto Hennie 70 69 75 65, Charl Schwartzel 73 70 66 70 -4: Angel Cabrera 67 70 74 69, Rafa Echenique 69 71 69 71, Ignacio Garrido 68 69 73 70, Robert Karlsson 72 71 68 69, Graeme McDowell 69 73 67 71, Francesco Molinari 68 75 69 68, Peter O&aposMalley (Australia) 71 72 67 70, Danny Willett 74 70 67 69 Also: -1: Scott Barr (Australia) 75 69 68 71 5: Rick Kulacz (Australia) 72 71 70 76