Zions cruises to first Euro win

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

LUMBRES, France -- Matthew Zions captured his first European Tour title after a two-under 69 on Sunday gave him a seven-shot win at the Saint-Omer Open.

Zions, whose previous best finish was a share of ninth in two 2007 events, finished the tournament at eight-under 276 and was one of only four players who completed the event under par.

The 512nd-ranked player in the world, Zions had four birdies and two bogeys at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club on Sunday and never led by fewer than two all afternoon.

"It feels like I'm dreaming," Zions said. "The last four holes I was wondering when I could start thinking about winning and when would be too soon that it tempted fate. I had a lump in my throat a couple of times."

Zions has had a mediocre season so far with only four cuts made in 13 events, but took advantage of a weak field to post the largest margin of victory in the event's history.

Peter Gustafsson (69), Craig Lee (72) and Daniel Denison (73) finished in a share of a distant second at one-under 283.

Marco Ruiz (70), Andrew Tampion (70), Lee Slattery (70), Lorenzo Gagli (71), Anders S. Hansen (71), Jorge Campillo (72) and Andrea Perrino (72) tied for fifth at even-par.

There was never any doubt who would win this tournament. The only question was by how many strokes.

Zions, who led by three entering the round, first bogeyed the fifth to see his lead cut to two, but that was the closest anyone got before he pulled away.

Back-to-back birdies from the eighth saw Zions double his lead by four as he made his way around the turn, and the advantage grew to six after a birdie at the par-three 11th.

Zions went on cruise control from that point, answering a bogey at the 13th with a birdie at the 14th. Armed with a six-shot lead at that point, he parred the remaining four holes to win comfortably.

"This is a huge day, it's hard to believe," Zions said. "My ball striking was great all week and I hardly missed any greens. We're not out here just to collect the check. It was nice to feel those butterflies this morning and feel the adrenaline as I was coming down the stretch. That's why we play."

Denison, who trailed by three entering the day, had his attempt to match Zions fail when he bogeyed two straight from the third. George Coetzee, who was also down three after 54 holes, bogeyed the first and third holes to fall off early.

Coetzee finished in a share of 12th at one-over 285.

NOTES: Chris Lloyd and David Dixon shared the best round of the day at three- under 68. They both finished in a tie for 17th at two-over 286...Zions won 100,000 Euros for the victory. He had just over 40,000 Euros in earnings this year coming into the week...The European Tour heads to Germany next week for the BMW International Open, where David Horsey won by one over Ross Fisher last year.


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