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Byline: Bernie McGuire

THOMAS BJORN turned back the clock yesterday when he captured the Commercialbank Qatar Masters in Doha by four strokes.

The Danish player returned to golf's big league just 12 days shy of his 40th birthday and his 11th Tour victory of his career should put him into the elite 64-man field for the Accenture World Matchplay championship in Arizona later this month.

Former Ryder Cup hero Bjorn, ranked 134th, f inished four strokes ahead of Spaniard Alvaro Quiros today and the victory is a huge boost to his hopes of earning a place in this July's Open on the same Sandwich course, where he blew a three-shot lead over the closing stretch in 2003.

Bjorn, twice a European vicecaptain and current chairman of the Tour's tournament committee, signed for a three-under 69 and 14-under-par total of 274. He said: "It's a big win and hopefully it can push me on to bigger things. When I play like this I know I can play against the best."

Charge While world No.1 Lee Westwood missed the cut and No.2 Martin Kaymer came only 28th - he needed a top-two f inish to dethrone Westwood - Bjorn did not have a single bogey in his last 47 holes.

Big-hitting Quiros, first and second in the event the past two years, made a back-nine charge and closed the gap to one as Bjorn reeled off 14 pars in a row in the windy conditions.

But after Quiros three-putted the 470-yard 15th Bjorn, armed with a new driver that gave him an extra 10 yards, hit a brilliant approach there to within four feet of the flag and then added further birdies on the driveable 16th and par-five 18th.

Bjorn said: "I knew if I stuck to my game plan I would be all right. Once I hit my tee shot on 18 I knew nothing could go wrong from there. We're fortunate as golfers that we can keep going at the highest level at this age.

"I've worked hard. I'm seeing the benefits of it and this changes my travel plans a little bit."

A closing birdie for Quiros took him ahead of third-placed pair Markus Brier and Rafael Cabrera-Bello while David Howell grabbed a fifth-place finish.

Stephen Gallacher and David Drysdale finished the leading Scots at four under.

Gallacher capped his round by holing a 90-yard wedge shot for an eagle at the 10th and said: "It would have been nice to birdie the last as a top-10 finish would have been a great result."

He remains leading Scot in the Race to Dubai despite dropping a place to 15th while Drysdale moved up five to 31st.


DANE IN THE DESERT: Thomas Bjorn celebrates his Doha win
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Feb 7, 2011
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