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Cejka ends seven-year title drought

PARIS, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Germany's Alex Cejka earned his first European Tour victory in seven years Sunday at the Trophee Lancome after shooting a 3-under-par 68 at Saint-Nom-la-Breteche.

Cejka finished with a 12-under 272 total for a two-stroke victory over Carlos Rodiles of Spain. France's Jean-Francois Lucquin and Angel Cabrera of Argentina shared third, another shot back.

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The 31-year-old German's victory is his first since 1995, when he won three times. He moved from 31st to 21st on the Order of Merit with Sunday's triumph.

"It's unbelievable," said Cejka, who left the Czech Republic when he was 9-years old with his father, living in Yugoslavia, Italy and Switzerland before settling in Munich. "It doesn't feel like seven years. I had a lot of chances through the years, sometimes finishing second or third, but there was always somebody ahead of me."

One of those chances came last month, when he was second at the German Open.

"It's cruel sometimes, but I have been working hard and been patient," Cejka said. "I knew it would come eventually."

Next up for Cejka is a trip to California for the first stage of qualifying for the PGA Tour.

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"I'm very happy in Europe, and having a two-year exemption now is very handy, but I want to give it a try," he said. "I want to try it three times. I missed out by two or three shots last year, and if I don't do it after three attempts, then maybe I can never make it."

Tied with Dutchman Maarten Lafeber for the lead after Saturday's windy round, Cejka forged ahead when he birdied the second hole but dropped a shot on the next. He made a birdie on the sixth and was never out of the lead thereafter.

Cejka, who proposed to his wife, Mirka, at this event, added birdies on the 10th and the 16th to take a two-shot lead.

Out earlier in the day, Rodiles recorded a closing 66 for a 10-under 274. He bounced back from a bogey on the second to made five birdies in a six-hole stretch, beginning at No. 5. The 27-year-old Spaniard secured second place with a birdie on the 15th hole for his best-ever finish on the European Tour.

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