Angel's prayers are answered

Angel Cabrera was forced to sit and watch from the clubhouse last night while Tiger Woods strove to make up a one-shot deficit and take the US Open into a play-off - but was finally able to celebrate his first major.

Angel Cabrera was forced to sit and watch from the clubhouse last night while Tiger Woods strove to make up a one-shot deficit and take the US Open into a play-off - but was finally able to celebrate his first major.

As The Journal went to press, Cabrera had carded a five-over par 285, but Woods managed to play out of a bunker on the 17th hole to make his par and make sure the championship would not be won until the final hole of the day.

However Woods failed to make the birdie he required at the final hole.

Cabrera had been involved in an epic battle which saw him sharing the lead with Woods and American Jim Furyk. However, Furyk's challenge fell away - carding a six over - leaving a tense finale with Woods the only man still out on the course able to take the lead. The Argentinian clubhouse leader had played a superb round to be one-under par for the day, but could only sit and watch as Woods made his way to the 18th.

Woods came to Oakmont yesterday looking to make some personal history while Paul Casey and Justin Rose came to the venerable course to stop him and make history of their own.

While Woods has his track record and Aaron Baddeley to worry about, not to mention the venerable course that has played up to, if not exceeded, its tough reputation, Casey and Rose had a much bigger burden to carry.

The hopes of England and Europe rode with the pair on a hot and breezy Sunday afternoon. And if that were not enough, both players sought to claim a first major title for themselves.

Casey came to Oakmont having played in four US Opens, making it to the weekend just once. That was last year at Winged Foot when he finished 15th after a closing 69. Casey would have gladly taken that score this Sunday, and showed he had the wherewithal to post it. He entered the final round with the lowest score of the tournament, a 66 on Friday. Constantly reminded that he was one round away from a chance to become the first European to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970, Casey had seemed to relish the challenge.

"It's been a long time since a European has won any major, let alone a US Open," said Casey. "What would it mean? It would mean the world. It would mean everything."

Casey even pointed out that it is not just the players that would like to see the European major drought come to an end. "The British Press and especially the European press are gagging for it," Casey added. "They can't wait. So hopefully we can pull it off." Neither managed to pull it off, but did themselves proud, finishing on 11-over par on a fiendishly difficult course.

Rose may have brought relative inexperience in a US Open to the table, but was also armed with the confidence that comes from success in the event. A 69 in the fourth round in 2003 resulted in a tie for fifth.

That was the same position he started in on Sunday and he was anxious to get his shot at Baddeley, Woods and the brutal course to record a breakthrough victory.

"Just two guys ahead of me, so at the end of the day I'm in a good position," Rose said. "Fortunately I can go out there and just chase it. Obviously, I have nothing to lose from that position, and I'll certainly be enjoying my chances."

Rose is also keeping himself from becoming preoccupied with matching Jacklin's achievement. "My thoughts are it has to happen sooner rather than later," Rose said. "There are so many capable players from Europe, it has to be a matter of time. It's just a question of who it will be."

Ashington's Kenneth Ferrie, meanwhile, produced his best round in a major this year, a two-over 72 which saw him finish on 19-over 299. Following a birdie at the third yesterday, he was one under after eight holes before carding bogeys at nine, 10 and 14.

Making the weekend cut by one shot, thanks to a late birdie in his second round, Ferrie scored 77 on Saturday.

His week's work represents a step forward from the Masters, where he missed the cut by six shots and signed off with an 83 to go 14 over for his two rounds at Augusta.

* SPAIN'S Carl Suneson won his first European Tour title in the St Omer Open.

Suneson carded a final-round 69 for an eight-under-par total of 276 and three-shot winning margin.

England's Marcus Higley, Australian Peter Fowler and France's Francois Calmels shared second on five under par, with Swede Mikael Lundberg another shot behind in fifth.

Suneson, fourth here in 2004 and sixth in 2005, began the day with a one-shot lead and made a solid start with six pars before a birdie on the seventh. A bogey on the next gave the chasing pack some hope, but the 39-year-old picked up birdies at the 12th and 14th to establish a stranglehold on the event, jointLY sanctioned with the Challenge Tour.

Another birdie on the 17th effectively sealed victory and allowed Suneson, o celebrate collecting the £60,000 cheque.


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