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Nilsson cruises to first European Tour title



Lumbres, France (Sports Network) - Christian Nilsson needed only a two-under 69 on Sunday to cruise to his first European Tour victory at the Saint-Omer Open.

The Swede was the only player in the field to post four rounds in the 60s and won the title at 13-under 271. Nilsson missed the tournament record by two strokes, but it hardly mattered. He won the championship by six shots and was never threatened on Sunday.

Jose-Filipe Lima carded a three-under 68 to finish alone in second at minus- seven.

Javier Colomo (66), Lorenzo Gagli (71), Richard McEvoy (67) and Ake Nilsson (71) shared a distant third place at three-under 281 at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club.

Nilsson began the final round with a four-stroke cushion, and no one in the field ever threatened. James Morrison was alone in second place to start Sunday's last round but bogeyed the third and fourth holes to fall six behind.

Lima recorded birdies at one and four, but it wasn't enough. He bogeyed the seventh and eighth holes to fall well back, but birdies at nine, 11 and 12 got him into second place.

But while Lima was surging up the leaderboard, Nilsson finally broke into red figures. He birdied the ninth and 10th holes, which left him six in front of Lima.

At the 15th, Lima made birdie to cut the gap to five with only three to play. Nilsson wasn't shaken. He continued his steady run of golf and parred out for the title.

"I'm very proud," said Nilsson. "To win by five or six shots, it looks pretty decent, but it was tough all day, especially when Lima made some birdies at the end."

For Nilsson, this was sweet revenge en route to his maiden win. He took second to David Dixon last year at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club for his best finish on tour, prior to Sunday.

"It's been a while, but finally I did it," said Nilsson. "It's been a tough year so far. I like this place a lot. I love the course. I'm going to come back here next year."

Lima, the 2004 winner, bogeyed the last, but all that did was hurt the final margin of victory for Nilsson. He can take some solace in the fact that his second-place check will probably be enough for him to keep his card next season.

"I'm very happy," said Lima. "I tried everything today just to put pressure on the leader. My game was very good, but not enough to catch him. It was not for me this week."

Morrison struggled to a five-over 76 on Sunday and finished in a tie seventh place with Sion E. Bebb (73) and Andrew Tampion (70). The group came in at minus-two.

Stuart Manley (71), Edoardo Molinari (70), Steven O'Hara (69), Inder Van Weerelt (66) and Kane Webber (68) shared 10th place at one-under-par 183.

06/21 11:22:07 ET


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