The frantic battle to secure places in Europe's Ryder Cup team was the last thing on the mind of the Frenchman Gregory Havret at Gleneagles on Sunday as he courageously held on to his overnight lead to secure victory in the Johnnie Walker Championship by a single stroke from Graeme Storm. Havret's careful surveying of the putt he faced to win the tournament was reduced to a side issue as the attention focused on Nick Faldo's two wild card choices for the forthcoming battle with the Americans.
It was a big moment for Havret, though, after he had nervously shanked his third shot to the par five closing hole. He regained his composure to splash out from a greenside bunker to leave his ball a tantalising 10 feet from the flag. He then showed tremendous character to find the middle of the cup to spark the now commonplace celebrations of a drenching by champagne. It was Havret's second victory on Scottish soil. He won the 2007 Scottish Open after a tense play-off against Phil Mickelson, the world No 2 from the United States.
"I remember last year at Loch Lomond I also needed to get up and down from the trap to win," said a relieved Havret at the end of what he described as a 'tough' day. Havret knew he had no chance of making the Ryder Cup team but his Gleneagles triumph lifted him to 29th in the points list. England's Storm had looked like snatching that big prize with a tremendous back nine of 32 to set the club house lead at 13 under par.
Sweden's Peter Hanson had earlier posted a creditable 69 to complete his four rounds in an 11 under par 281 and claim a share of third place with England's David Howell. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org