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Bjorn wins BMW International Open

Sept. 1, 2002 at 2:11 PM   |   Comments

MUNICH, Germany, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Thomas Bjorn earned his seventh career title on the European PGA Tour on Sunday, rolling toward the Ryder Cup with his second victory in three years at the BMW International Open.

Bjorn kept crowd favorite Bernhard Langer and John Bickerton at bay with his second straight 6-under-par 66. It left him at 24-under 264, four shots ahead at Munchen Nord-Eichenreid.

"I went out this morning to play as aggressive as I had all week and attack the course because I knew I needed to shoot a number," he said. "Down the stretch, it was in my control and I knew if I didn't make any mistakes the tournament was mine."

A 31-year-old native of Denmark, Bjorn has won at least one event each of the last five seasons. This was his first title in 18 months, thanks in part to a shoulder injury that limited his play last year.

The victory also is a confidence boost heading into the Ryder Cup later this month. Bjorn qualified for his second Ryder Cup appearance last year, when he cracked the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings.

Langer began the day two shots back and pressured Bjorn with an incredible short game but came up short with a 68. The two-time Masters winner, who was second to Bjorn here two years ago, has 11 titles on home soil but none at this event.

"I played with Thomas all four rounds and he played very well all week," said Langer, also a member of the European Ryder Cup team. "He looked very comfortable with his swing and didn't miss many putts at all. Every time I made a birdie, he seemed to hit back with one of his own."

Bickerton of England shot a bogey-free 66 and tied Langer for second at 20-under 264. No other player finished within six strokes of Bjorn.

With three birdies over the first six holes, Bjorn maintained a two-shot lead over Langer. The German bogeyed the eighth hole but looked to pick up some momentum with a birdie at the ninth before Bjorn followed with one of his own.

"It kept the momentum going my way," said Bjorn, the third Danish player to win on the European Tour this season. "At that point, I felt the tournament was going to go my way."

Bjorn, who needed only 23 putts in the final round, followed with a bogey at the 10th, but Langer did the same. Bjorn then birdied the 11th and 12th before putting his exclamation point on the win with another birdie at the 18th.

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