Everything comes right for Hanson
The 32-year-old Swede matched his twin aims to perfection. After letting slip a four-shot Saturday-night lead, he came back to defeat Peter Lawrie and newcomer Gary Boyd at the second play-off hole. At the same time, he kept his unbeaten play-off record intact - three wins in three starts.
Yet before any of this could happen, Hansonhad to ask for a sponsor's invitation to play at the Prosper Golf Resort. Having been at the PGA championship at Whistling Straits the week before, he had planned on a break before the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles. However, the moment it hit him that a week off could end up costing him his place at Celtic Manor, he had gone into action.
The sponsors gave him the thumbs up on the Monday and, after rushing out to the Czech Republic,Hanson did not take too long to discover the form which saw him winning in Mallorca in May.
There were a few hiccups for the player at the start of the fourth round and, though he recaptured his lead with a birdie at the 10th, there was more trouble in the offing at the 12th. After a good enough drive, he dispatched too-long a second which plugged in the bunker beyond the green. It cost him a six and saw him slipping behindLawrie and Boyd. Once again, he fought back, notching a birdie at the 16thwhich paved the way for his closing 74.
Boyd was the most surprising of the play-off candidates - a 23-year-old graduate of the Challenge circuit who had known nothing better than a 14th place in his first year on the European Tour. He had started the day six shots behind Hanson but played his way through the field with five birdies in an outward 31. As for Lawrie, he had prospered with a run of birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie around the turn.
Throughout his 74, the Swede had radiated nothing but anxiety. Now, after everything had come so right, a wide smile surfaced. "I've still got a week to go," he said of the Johnnie Walker, the last counting event on the Ryder Cup points list, "but things are looking so much better, now."
Montgomerie was going to be pleased to see him. At a time when others looking to play in the Ryder Cup had not answered his call to enter the last few counting tournaments, both Hanson - and Simon Dyson, for that matter - had followed the captain's wishes to the letter.
Talking of champions, Hanson will, of course, be among those in the WGC-HSBC Champions from 4-7 November. One way and another, his second rush of form in the 2010 season has come at the right time.
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