U.S. Masters golf champion Severiano Ballesteros drove a four-wheel-drive vehicle to the rescue of a sick young woman trapped during last weekend's catastrophic floods that claimed 29 lives in northern Spain.

Ballesteros and his brother Vicente were told a woman with kidney problems urgently needed to be taken from a town neighboring their home to a hospital in nearby Santander--but floods had cut the roads to her home.

Ballesteros said after shooting a 69 in the third round of the European Open yesterday, "My girlfriend Carmen called me, told me that a friend of hers needed to reach the dialysis machine, and asked if I could help. The police were not allowing small cars along the flooded roads, but I'm fortunate to have a Range Rover, and so my brother and I set out. The journey to Lierganes, where the 20-year-old girl--who I had met before through Carmen--lives, usually takes 20 minutes. This time it took 2 1/2 hours . . .

"It was difficult because many of the roads were blocked, and three times my engine stalled. But we found a road that I didn't know existed and managed to get through. It was really nothing. I don't know why everybody is making such a fuss."