Levet secures Spanish win as Lawrie ties for third

Former Ryder Cup player Thomas Levet dedicated victory to Seve Ballesteros after lifting the Spanish Open trophy in Girona today.

Former Ryder Cup player Thomas Levet dedicated victory to Seve Ballesteros after lifting the Spanish Open trophy in Girona today.

Levet fought off a succession of challenges to claim his fifth European Tour title – a record for a French player – by two strokes from Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti.

Two shots further back in joint third were Ireland’s Peter Lawrie, who had mounted a great bid to make the first successful defence since Max Faulkner in 1953, and Dane Thomas Bjorn.

Ballesteros underwent four operations late last year after the discovery of a brain tumour and is still having chemotherapy.

“I always think about Seve, he is having a hard time at the moment,” said 40-year-old Levet, who took the first prize of just under £300,000 with a closing 68 and 18-under-par total of 270.

Then, looking into a television camera, he added: “Seve, I dedicate this win to you.”

Asked what he most admired about the former world number one, whose record 50 victories on the circuit included three Spanish Opens, Levet replied: “His fight, and that’s what I did today.”

He needed to. Two ahead overnight, he found himself two behind after four holes with playing partner Stuart Davis bursting out of the traps – appropriately enough for a man sponsored by the Nottingham greyhound track – with three successive birdies.

Davis, a Tour rookie despite being 35, fell away to 15th place with a 78, but Zanotti, Lawrie and Bjorn then came on strong.

Zanotti, a 25-year-old South American, had never previously posted a top-10 finish on the circuit, but he had nine birdies in a best-of-the-day 65.

It was not enough, though. From one in front with four to play Levet sank an eight-foot putt at the long 15th and then birdied the 460-yard 17th as well.

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