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mark foster after winning the dunhill championship
Mark Foster Celebrates

Foster Triumphs
Mark Foster finally stepped out of the formidable shadow spread by the glittering accomplishments of his good friend, fellow Worksop Golf Club member and ISM colleague Lee Westwood at the weekend.

Foster produced one of the most exciting and dramatic triumphs in European Tour history when he completed a European Tour debut win in South Africa.

The 27-year-old Challenge Tour champion of 2001 proved he has come of age among the elite of European golf when he won a six man play-off to claim the Dunhill Championship at Houghton Golf Club.

Foster’s 40-foot eagle putt on the second extra hole proved decisive in beating former Open champion Paul Lawrie, previous week’s winner Trevor Immelman, Anders Hansen, Doug McGuigan and Bradford Vaughan. It was only the second time in Tour history that six players have taken part in sudden death.

“There is a time in every player’s career when it is defined by one
accomplishment and for Mark that putt may well be it,” said ISM chief Chubby Chandler.
“Mark had already proved on the Challenge Tour that he had what it takes to win and he has now moved up to the next level. Just how much further he progresses up the ladder to greatness is entirely up to him because he has all the qualities necessary to go all the way”.

Foster’s triumph earned generous acclaim elsewhere including plaudits from those he defeated. “Only one person can win and Mark deserved it. Every credit to him,” said Carnoustie hero Lawrie while Immelman added: “Well done to Mark. It was a great first win”.
Foster admitted afterwards that he was drained by his week’s work. “I was wilting a bit near the end, but made sure I kept going at the second extra hole,” he said.
Now Foster hopes to move on to bigger and better – not least a chance at qualifying for the Open. “People have said I’m a slow learner, but I’ve finally caught the boat”.
That boat will stop at Royal St.George’s next July if he can finish in the top two of the South African Order of Merit, which has two more weeks before completion. Top three also gain entry to the American Express WGC event.

Foster, who collected approximately £80,000 for his week’s work, has elected to stay in South Africa in a bid to seal his exemptions. The play-off six all finished at 15 under par, two ahead of defending champion Justin Rose and ISM’s Richard Sterne while stablemate David Howell continued his encouraging start to the season with another place inside the top 20.

There was also plenty of encouragement for Lee Westwood before he flies to America for a week’s work with top coach David Leadbetter. More birdies and fewer bogeys than usual filled four cards that were never over par and he finished 29th along with ISM colleagues Louis Oosthuizen and David Park.

Simon Dyson, David Dixon, Simon Wakefield, Martin Maritz and Ben Mason all made the cut.

by Martin Hardy on behalf of ISM

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