Van de Velde Hangs on for Win - Barely


European TourMADEIRA, Portugal -- This time there would be no final-round collapse. Just a near-collapse.
On Sunday, Jean Van de Velde survived a double bogey on the 18th hole to win the Madeira Island Open by one shot over Lee Slattery, shooting a final-round, 4-under 68 for his second European Tour title.
Van de Velde finished a runner-up each of the last three times he enjoyed at least a share of the third-round lead, a dubious streak that included his infamously bizarre collapse at the 1999 British Open.
There were five other players who finished 10-under-par or better, but Van De Velde held on, ending the tournament at 15-under-par 273.
The end of Van de Velde's final round -- which also included eight birdies and two bogeys -- played out eerily similar to the last time he led an event heading into Sunday.
That came last year at the Open de France, where Van de Velde finished second to Jean Francois Remesy after stumbling to a double bogey on the first playoff hole.
The runner-up finish helped Van de Velde re-gain his tour card -- he had been playing on invitations only -- but it also harkened painful memories of his collapse at Carnoustie, where he held a three-shot lead after 17 holes but ended up losing to Paul Lawrie in a four-hole playoff after a disastrous triple-bogey seven on 18.
Prior to that let down, Van de Velde also lost a third-round lead at the 1996 Loch Lomond Invitational, despite shooting 6 under in the final round.
His only other title prior to this one came the first time he held a third-round lead -- at the 1993 Roma Masters.
Van de Velde plowed his way through the front nine Sunday, collecting six birdies with just one dropped shot to make the turn at 16 under. He reached as low as minus-18 before a bogey at the par-3 15th and his double at the last.
Slattery fired a 6-under 66 to take second place at 14-under-par 274. He birdied eight of his final 13 holes -- including 16 and 18 -- after playing his first five holes at 2 over.
Pedro Linhart, the 1999 winner, played in the final group with Van de Velde and Simon Wakefield, shooting a 4-under 68 to finish alone in third place at minus-13.
Wakefield also shot a 68 and ended one shot further back in fourth place.
Mattias Eliasson fired the low round of the day, an 8-under 64 that vaulted him 24 places into a tie for fifth. He was joined at 10-under by Richard Finch, who shot a 67.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Medeira Island Open
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