Eagle lands Fulke Volvo Masters title

ESPN Golf Online news services
Sunday, November 5

JEREZ, Spain -- Pierre Fulke recorded the biggest victory of his career, making eagle at the 16th hole to beat Darren Clarke by a stroke Sunday in the $2.9 million Volvo Masters.

 Pierre Fulke
Pierre Fulke added the Volvo Masters to his Scottish PGA title earlier this year.
Clarke was tied for the lead with Fulke entering the last round and pulled ahead on the 14th hole. But he lost a stroke at the 16th despite a birdie, and then dropped another stroke with a bogey on the next hole. Both parred the 18th.

Fulke closed with a 5-under 67 to finish at 16-under 272 at the Montecastillo course, earning a payday of $484,000.

Clarke shot a 68 for 273 and won $322,500. He moved ahead of Lee Westwood for the top spot on the European money list.

Westwood shot a 65 to share third with Michael Campbell, who broke the course record with a 63. Both finished at 275.

Colin Montgomerie blew his slim chance of finishing top of the rankings for an eighth successive year with ninth place. He was at 10-under after a 65.

Fulke and Clarke exchanged the lead for most of the final round until Clarke's costly hook at the penultimate hole.

Fulke was out for the first four months of the season with a neck injury before winning the Scottish PGA in August.

"To come back after my injury ... I don't practice much, I barely practice at home," said Fulke. "I don't know why I'm playing so well. I just hope it continues."

His victory in the most lucrative European event outside the British Open and the World Golf Championship also earned him a place at the $5 million American Express Championship next week at Valderrama.

"This has opened up a lot of doors for me," he said.

Clarke had led by one after 15 holes only for Fulke to eagle the next with a 30-foot putt.

Clarke made his birdie, dribbling in his downhill putt from 10 feet, but he then hooked his next tee shot on to a bank, leading to the decisive bogey.

"I made one bad swing and it cost me the chance of winning the tournament," Clarke said. "I'm a bit disappointed, but I did shoot 68, and Fulke was fantastic. He didn't make any mistakes at all. He deserved to win."

Fulke said his 5-wood second shot at the 16th was the defining moment.

"It was 196 meters to the pin, with a crosswind. I thought it was a 3-wood at first, but then I went for the 5 and aimed it 20 feet from the pin. That's where it pitched and I holed the putt. That wood was probably one of the best shots of my life."

Montgomerie was philosophical about ending his seven-year reign as Europe's top player.

"All good things come to an end," he said. "But I've nothing to prove, and if I win it again next year after such a disappointing end to this one, that would be good. I threw away five shots yesterday -- that was one of the worst rounds I have played for a long time, and at the wrong time."

Campbell was delighted with his finish and looking forward to his evening meal.

After a bogey at the first "all of a sudden I went beserk," he said. "After seven holes I was still just 1-under, and my manager said that he would buy me dinner if I had another five birdies.

"I then went birdie, birdie, birdie, par, birdie and birdie. So he then said he would buy me a bottle of wine to go with the dinner for every other shot I picked up.

"That means I'll get three."
Volvo Masters final-round scores