London claims more victims

Sam Torrance
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IT was described as the tournament that no-one wanted to win, but the fact than no one player took a firm grasp of the European Open trophy just goes to show how tough the London GC in Ash, Kent is.<br /><br />I&rsquo;m fortunate to have won there twice and know just how difficult the back nine can play, in particular the 471-yard par four 18th which claimed 154 bogeys, 48 doubles and 26 scores of 7+ over the course of the four rounds. The player who mastered the windy conditions and tough course best was France&rsquo;s Christian Cevaer, who played beautifully for his one-shot victory, ending a horror run of being without a top 30 finish in his last 15 events.<br /><br />Across the water, Steve Stricker claimed his first PGA Tour win in a couple of years to take the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Texas, but you had to feel sorry for Tim Clar, who missed a five-foot putt and hit the flagstick in the three-way play-off.<br /><br />As for me, I make the trip to Ballbunion GC this week to renew my on-going love affair with the Irish Open.<br /><br />Twice I won this event on the European Tour, back in 1981 and 1995, and claimed the Seniors version in 2006 after a four-way play-off.<br /><br />Ballybunion is one of Ireland&rsquo;s toughest links courses so a lot will depend on the weather, but I&rsquo;m playing well and confident of keeping the run going.