Slattery holds on at Madrid Masters for first win, Donald ends seven back

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Lee Slattery came to Madrid worried about his playing status for 2012, but is leaving with his future secure.
By
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Sunday, October 09, 2011 | 1:04 p.m.

England's Lee Slattery survived a jittery final hole Sunday to claim his first win on the European Tour at the Bankia Madrid Masters.

The 33-year-old from Southport, who was also looking to secure his playing status for next year, held a three-stroke lead over Italian Lorenzo Gagli heading up the 18th but put his third shot into the water.

BANKIA MADRID MASTERS

The Bankia Madrid Masters is making its first appearance at the new El Encín Golf Hotel, which features a Robert Von Hagge design in the shadow of the mountains of the Santos del la Humosa region northwest of Madrid.

He gathered himself again, though, pitching his fifth to within 15 feet and then two-putted for a double bogey to finish on 15 under par, one better than Gagli.

Eduardo De La Riva and Cesar Monasterio finished a further two shots back on 12 under.

Gagli and Argentinian veteran Monasterio led at the turn and the former even had a birdie chance on the last to take it to a playoff. But even though it slid past, it should not detract from another excellent week for Gagli, who has been enjoying a promising season on the European Tour.

He was 2 under through nine holes, but another birdie at 11 was offset by a bogey on 14 as he failed to capitalize on Slattery's closing struggles.

Australian Brett Rumford, second alongside Gagli overnight, fell away with a final-round 77 while world No. 1 Luke Donald shot an even-par 72 to finish 8 under, seven adrift.

Slattery held a two-shot lead overnight but saw that advantage wiped out as he stumbled out of the blocks in the final round, bogeying the third and fifth holes.

A birdie on the seventh steadied the nerves and he went on to pick up further shots on 11, 13, 14 and 15 before his final hole wobbles frayed those nerves as he closed with a 1-under 71.

He admitted he was trembling even as he stood over the short putt he had to claim the crown.

"I had a two-footer on the last to win and I have never shaken so much in my life," he said. "I was so relaxed on the back nine, making birdies, but as soon as I made a mistake, like I did on the last, it became quite tough. It was nerve-wracking."

Slattery, ranked 136th on the European Tour money list and previously in danger of losing his card after missing six cuts at his last 11 events, is hoping the win at El Encin Golf Hotel will revitalize his career.

"It's more the belief," he said. "I have been out here for seven years and now I believe I can win. People have been telling me for years I can win and now I believe it.

"That has been the biggest problem and this (win) for me is huge."