Soren Hansen wins in Cologne for second tour title

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COLOGNE, Germany, Sep 17 (Reuters) - Denmark's Soren Hansen won his second European Tour event five years after his first when he eased to a comfortable win in the Mercedes Benz Championship.

A closing five-under-par 67 for a 17-under-par 271 four-round total, left Hansen four strokes better than British duo Phillip Archer and Alastair Forsyth.

Dane Thomas Bjorn and Briton Bradley Dredge finished a further stroke back in fourth place.

Hansen and Bjorn were tied for the lead after three rounds.

However, Bjorn's rustiness after taking a long break to tidy up his swing, showed as he fell behind by double-bogeying the sixth and he could never get on terms with Hansen from there.

Two eagles, a chip-in at the long 13th and a 10ft putt on the par-five 15th, minimised anyone's hopes of catching Hansen, who was looking to better two second places and a third in the last 10 weeks.

The previous day Hansen had thrown away his lead with three closing bogeys but this time his only blemish of the day came with a bogey on the 17th as he took the 440,000 dollars first prize.

Hansen's victory added to his 2002 Irish Open title, which was won after a playoff.

''I made it a bit interesting again by bogeying the last three holes yesterday but the second eagle, on the 15th gave me a nice little cushion,'' Hansen told a news conference yesterday.

''It's been a long wait but I've been knocking on the door and working hard.'' A second successive runner-up spot for Archer, who lost a playoff to Australian Brett Rumford in the European Masters in Switzerland, was good enough to take the Englishman past his fellow-countryman Nick Dougherty for Britain and Ireland's final qualifying Seve Trophy place.

Bjorn lost the chance of making it a Danish one-two by bogeying the 16th and 17th holes as he closed with a 72.

Another Dane, Soren Kjeldsen, shared sixth place, six strokes behind Hansen, with Britons Simon Khan and Lee Westwood, who had begun the week with a 61.

Kjeldsen's finish was not good enough for him to overtake Austrian Markus Brier for the final qualifying European place in the Seve Trophy in Ireland from September 27-30.

Captains Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros will now make two wild-card choices for the 10-man teams.

Reuters BJR RN1026

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