Christophe Günther produced “the best round of my life”, a stunning ten under par 62, to rampage his way to the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Markus Brier Foundation.
The German started the day five shots behind leader Carlos Rodiles, but a quite stunning final round performance, culminating in a tremendous 18th hole wedge approach to three feet to set up his tenth and final birdie of the day, saw him overhaul Rodiles and the rest of the field to win by one from the Spaniard and his countryman Florian Fritsch.
Günther’s 62 saw him post the clubhouse target of 20 under par 268 with only Rodiles and Fritsch the only players left on the course who could catch him. Günther signed his card and went out to watch Rodiles and Fritsch play the 18th, where both men had chances to force a play-off but had to settle for a tie for second place on 19 under as their birdie efforts slid past the hole.
“That was the round of my life, definitely,” said Günther. “It was the lowest score of my career anyway but given the circumstances and the situation it was the best day I have ever had on a golf course.
“This means so much to me – and opens a lot of doors for the rest of the season and it means a lot to be able to prove to myself that I could do it when there were times that I thought I couldn’t. It also shows that the hard work pays off and I have worked very hard recently.”
The work certainly paid off for the German, who had forced his way into contention on Friday with a second round 63 but then seemed to have played his way out of the tournament with a third round 75.
He was not to be denied, though, getting his final round off to the perfect start with a birdie on the first hole to set up what would become a day of fantasy golf for the 34 year old.
“I struggled yesterday in the wind but today it just went great for me,” Günther continued. “It just got off to a great start with a birdie on the first and went from there. I made a great birdie putt on the fourth, a snakey downhiller and I think that was really important to make that one.”
He followed that with further birdies on the sixth, seventh and ninth holes to turn in 31 before repeating that number on the back nine, culminating in that tremendous wedge approach to the 18th to set-up that tap-in birdie for victory.
“There are a lot of people that I have to thank, but special thanks has to go to my sponsor, Mr Arwed Löseke who has supported me and my career for a long time now.”
While Günther celebrated his maiden Challenge Tour victory that netted him €22,400 and propelled him from 96th to tenth on the Rankings, Edoardo Molinari’s joint fourth-place finish alongside tournament host Markus Brier saw him leapfrog Gary Boyd at the top of the Rankings to move to Number One.
Austria’s Martin Wiegele, meanwhile, was also in celebratory mode having won a brand new Mazda CX 7 car for holing in one on the par three eighth hole during the final round. Wiegele’s perfect eight iron from 141 metres saw him drive home in his brand new Mazda.
For Brier, the tournament was also a resounding success. He said: “It was very exciting to host the tournament and I am really happy that the tournament has been a success for the Challenge Tour and for the Markus Brier Foundation. We can now look forward to next year and hosting the tournament again because it has been a big success.”