<
>

Fasth nips Langer, wins BMW International by two strokes

6/24/2007 - Golf Niclas Fasth

MUNICH, Germany -- Sweden's Niclas Fasth withstood
a remarkable charge by Bernhard Langer on Sunday before winning
the BMW International by two strokes.

Fasth's closing two-under 70 for a 13-under 275 total kept
out Langer, who had to settle for his fifth runner-up spot in
the only German European Tour event he has never won.

Langer, finishing with a 67, shared second place with
Portugal's Jose-Filipe Lima (72), who led the third round with
Fasth.

Three strokes ahead of the field at the turn, Fasth's sixth
European Tour title looked a formality with the Swede in the
form that earned him fourth place in the U.S. Open.

But with the 49-year-old Langer holing a series of
outrageous putts, a 40-footer, two 25-footers and two from 15
feet, and Fasth double-bogeying the 10th, the outcome remained
in doubt until the 71st hole.

Langer tangled with the rough on 18 and could only manage
par to set an 11-under target. Fasth stayed only one in front of
the German until holing a seven-footer for birdie on 17 to
extend his victory margin.

"I've played some of the best golf of my life this week,"
Fasth said.

While Fasth took the $445,000 winner's check and with it a
move close to the world's top 20, Langer, who becomes a senior
in August, took top marks for determination.

Langer slid to five-over in the first round, suffering a
painful neck which had to be treated on the course and nearly
caused him to withdraw, and could only manage a 76.

Fasth paid tribute to Langer's efforts, adding: "It's the
sign of a great champion to have such a disastrous first round
and come back like Bernhard did."

Free of pain for the second round, Langer battled back with
a 66 to make the cut on the 142 mark.

Two late bogeys marred his third round, leaving him five
strokes off the lead, but his remarkable putting display in the
final round took Langer right onto Fasth's shoulder.

"It was a great shame I had my injury on the first day or
who knows what might have happened," Langer told reporters.

"I was trying to make a charge and holed some putts but then
I had a couple of bad breaks, but that's golf."

It was Langer's second runner-up spot of the year, having
lost a playoff to South African Rory Sabbatini in the Crowne
Plaza Invitational on the PGA Tour.

"Every once in a while the old swing shows up, the old
talent shows, but unfortunately not often enough," he said.

Lima's birdie at the last took him alongside Langer, a
stroke in front of Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez, Dutchman Maarten
Lafeber and Dane Anders Hansen.