Date: April 20, 2008

No joy for Strange in China

Damien McGrane coped with the tough conditions at the Beijing CBD International Golf Club to secure his maiden title on the European Tour with an impressive nine-stroke victory at the Volvo China Open on Sunday. It was a dismal day for the Australians with Scott Strange and David Bransdon both struggling and plummeting down the leaderboard to finish equal 14th. After clear skies in the previous three rounds the players took to the course this morning in heavy rain and wind and the tough playing conditions were reflected in the scores with few birdie putts being made. With the rest of the players seeing their scorecard littered with bogeys McGrane kept his cool to produce an impressive round which yielded two birdies and three bogeys. The Irishman carded a one-over-par 73 though his victory had looked certain as early as when he had reached the turn with a four-stroke lead. Playing partner Oliver Wilson was not so fortunate on the wet course as he endured a torrid day, though still managed to finish with a share of second place at one-under-par. The 27-year-old from Mansfield had started the final round three strokes behind McGrane but struggled from the offset, bogeying his first two holes. He bogeyed the par-four fourth and when his approach shot to set-up a par putt on the fifth rolled down the other side of the green leaving him to card another bogey, Wilson had slipped down the leaderboard. He bogeyed again on the sixth but he improved somewhat on the inward nine, carding two birdies against four bogeys to secure second place with a seven-over-par 79. Wilson was joined by compatriot Simon Griffiths and Michael Lorenzo-Vera of France who had carded a 74 and a 79 respectively. “The course was extremely difficult today,” said Griffiths. “I missed one fairway and if you miss fairways you are going to make bogeys. Hitting those fairways was key today. “I knew it was going to be bad when I woke up this morning and saw the grey skies. Its been very difficult for everyone but luckily I hit the ball good off the tee and I got half decent scores.” Mark Brown carded a costly triple bogey on the 18th to throw away a potential second place finish and returned to the clubhouse tied for third. The New Zealander had been steady throughout his round, dropping just two shots but that all went to waste on the last hole as he finished alongside last year&aposs champion Markus Brier and Graeme McDowell. Fourth Round Scores from the China Open -10: Damien McGrane 68, 69, 68, 73 -1: Simon Griffiths 68, 72, 73, 74, Michael Lorenzo-Vera 67, 69, 72, 79, Oliver Wilson 72, 66, 70, 79 E: Markus Brier 71, 69, 72, 76, Mark Brown 71, 71, 69, 77, Graeme McDowell 73, 72, 68, 75 +1: Jason Knutzon 68, 72, 72, 77, Noh Seung-Yul 71, 71, 74, 73, Liang Wen-Chong 73, 68, 73, 75 +2: John Bickerton 70, 76, 72, 72, Richard Finch 68, 69, 76, 77 +3: David Bransdon (Australia) 73, 72, 68, 78, Joost Luiten 68, 73, 74, 76, Scott Strange (Australa) 73, 71, 66, 81, Lu Wen-Teh 73, 71, 71, 76 Also: +4: Adam Groom (Australia) 73, 70, 72, 77 +6: Marcus Both (Australia) 73, 73, 73, 75 +7: Scott Barr (Australia) 73, 74, 74, 74 +10: Marcus Fraser (Australia) 71, 76, 73, 78 +12: Gary Flint (Australia) 73, 74, 76, 77