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Andres Romero compared himself to Jean Van de Velde on Sunday. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andres Romero compared himself to Jean Van de Velde on Sunday. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Romero happy despite late woes that cost him chance

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Andres Romero had his own Jean Van de Velde moment on Sunday, fumbling away a two-shot lead late in the final round. Even so, the young Argentinian was genuinely pleased to have finished third, his best-ever finish in a major.

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (PA) -- Andres Romero conceded he could be classed as another Jean Van de Velde after blowing his chance of winning the Open Championship at Carnoustie.

The Argentinian led by two strokes after his birdie at the 16th, one of 10 players around in a remarkable round of 67 that ultimately secured him third place -- missing out on the playoff by just one stroke.

He redeemed the double bogey he made at the 12th, but the 6 he took at the par-5 17th, followed by a bogey at the last, shattered his hopes of the first -- and biggest -- win of his career.

It brought back echoes of the last time the Open was held at Carnoustie, when France's Van de Velde threw away a three-shot lead at the 18th hole to eventually lose the title, and Romero was aware that parallels could be drawn between the two golfers.

"There's one advantage; I did it on 17, not on 18!" he said through an interpreter. "But I could be put into that category by some. I certainly wasn't thinking about Jean Van de Velde. I was very concentrated and what happened happened.

"Unfortunately, it ended with a double bogey and a bogey," he added. "The pressure certainly caught up with me -- the pressure of the last two holes at such a big event."

Romero was all smiles in the press conference afterward as he explained where it all went wrong at the 17th hole.

"I hit a very bad second shot at 17 and I also had a lot of very bad luck when I ricocheted it off the burn and out of bounds," he continued. "I was aware I was leading. I hit a 2-iron as a second shot. I wasn't certain of what club I wanted to play, perhaps that was my mistake.

"I thought I had a chance to get it on the green," he added. "I was thinking of hitting a 3-wood and should have stuck with my initial thought and hit it with a 3-wood.

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"I didn't and that was the result. I never considered playing safe. The second time round I hit it the way I should have, with the right club," he said. "I then hit a great drive on 18, I hit a poor second shot, but in spite of it all I'm delighted."

Despite never having won on the European Tour, Romero was aiming to emulate countryman Angel Cabrera, who won the U.S. Open last month. But the 26-year-old was genuinely pleased at his achievement, which beats his previous best finish at an Open -- tied eighth in his debut last year.

"I am happy because the best players in the world are here and I played the tournament I played," he added. "I played with the No. 2 in the world [Jim Furyk] and I felt very comfortable playing with him. I felt I belong there. There's no disappointment at all.

"Last year I had the chance of getting myself into this tournament and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of playing this year," he said. "And I look forward to playing next year."

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