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Golf-Van de Velde named European player of month

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Apr 6 (Reuters) Frenchman Jean Van de Velde has been named the European Tour's player of the month for March after winning his first title in 13 years at the Madeira Island Open two weeks ago.

The 39-year-old survived a double-bogey six at the final hole to triumph by a shot, a four-under-par 68 giving him a 15-under total of 273.

Van de Velde, who took an infamous triple bogey at the last to scupper his victory chances in the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie, had not won on the circuit since the 1993 Rome Masters.

''It's a great honour to be the European Tour golfer of the month for the first time,'' Van de Velde said in a statement released by the tour today.

''My victory in Madeira means a lot to me after some difficult times with injury over the last few years.'' The former Ryder Cup player feared he might not compete again after injuring his knee while skiing. He needed an operation in 2003 during a three-year period in which he played only a handful of events.

Van de Velde regained his tour card after finishing second at the 2005 French Open.

He held off competition for the monthly award from Britain's Luke Donald, who won the PGA Tour's Honda Classic four weeks ago, and Sweden's Henrik Stenson, who tied for third at the prestigious Players Championship in Florida.

A panel comprising players and journalists select the best performance by a European Tour member in worldwide competition.

REUTERS SBJ BD2229

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