Lara secures 2011 status with playoff victory over Lynn in Austrian Open

jose manuel lara
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After he succeeded in winning the tournament on Sunday, Jose Manuel Lara couldn't escape a Champagne shower from his fellow Spaniards Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Martin.
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PA Sport and Associated Press

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Published: Sunday, September 19, 2010 | 1:52 p.m.

Jose Manuel Lara of Spain won his second European Tour title on Sunday, beating David Lynn of England on the first playoff hole at the Austrian Open.

Lara had 10 birdies in an 8-under 64, including a 35-foot putt on No. 18 to finish at 17-under 271 and force the playoff. Lynn, who shared the overnight lead, had seven birdies in a 68.

Lynn drove into the rough on the first playoff hole at the Diamond Country Club and missed a 15-foot putt for par. Lara two-putted from 30 feet for a par that gave him his first victory since the 2007 Hong Kong Open.

Before finishing fourth at last Sunday’s KLM Open, Lara had missed nine straight cuts and was in danger of losing his card.

“I have missed too many cuts in the past two years,” said Lara, who earned $163,000 for the victory. That should be enough to lift him from 139th on the money list into the top 115 who are guaranteed playing cards for 2011.

“And after playing so poorly, I could not imagine I could play so well as I have done all this week here in Austria,” Lara said. “Now I would like to climb into the top 60 and make the Dubai World Championship at the end of the year.”

Lynn had shared the third-round lead with fellow Englishman Danny Willett, who shot a 71 to finish three strokes back, tied for third with Alexander Noren of Sweden (68) and U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell (69).

McDowell was playing in Austria after a five-week break, seeking to regain his touch ahead of the Ryder Cup. The Northern Irishman shot in the 60s all four rounds, but missed birdie opportunities on Sunday that would have put pressure on the leaders.

Lynn and Lara returned to the 18th tee to decide the victor in sudden death, and Lynn put himself in trouble on the par-4 hole by finding rough on the right, behind a grass bank and almost in a bunker. From there could only trundle the ball halfway to the green.

Lara's tee shot was not perfect, finding light rough on the left, but he was able to find the putting surface with his second shot. Lynn pitched his third shot to around 15 feet, but Lara then putted to four feet. The pressure was on the 37-year-old Englishman and he failed to hole his testing putt, allowing Lara to step forward and find the heart of the hole to take victory with a par.

Lara celebrated with his caddie, embraced runner-up Lynn, and was then chased around the green by Champagne-spraying players including his fellow Spaniards Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Martin.