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Casey Wins Benson and Hedges by 4 Strokes

May 11, 2003

SUTTON COLDFIELD, England (AP) _ Former Arizona State star Paul Casey won in his home country Sunday, capturing the final Benson and Hedges International by four strokes after shooting a 1-under-par 71.

He finished at 11-under 277 at The Belfry, having entered the day tied for the lead with Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Stephen Scahill of New Zealand. Harrington finished second after a 75.

The tournament, first played in 1971, is ending because of restrictions on tobacco promotions.

Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie made a hole-in-one with a 7-iron at the 174-yard No. 7, and his 69 gave him a share of third with Scahill (76) and Dutchman Rolf Muntz (72).

This was Casey’s third win on the European Tour and his second this year following a victory in Australia in February. The Englishman began his European tour at this event two years ago. He is coming off a college career in which he won three straight Pac-10 titles.

``The big thing was playing a lot in Scottsdale before I came back to Europe,″ he said. ``I played almost every day for several weeks. I always felt I had the game to win on courses like this and I consider myself quite a good wind player.″

Casey plans to remain on the European tour except for major events in the United States for which he qualifies and world championship tournaments. He earned $293,695 and is second on the Order of Merit behind Ernie Els.

Richard S. Johnson of Sweden set a course record with a 64, breaking the mark Scahill tied with a 65 Saturday. Johnson finished seven strokes back.

Defending champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina, one stroke off the lead entering the day, shot a 78 to share seventh place.

Jean Van de Velde, coming back from knee surgery and competing for the first time since July, closed with a 73 and finished in a five-way tie for 17th at 288.

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