Sunday, 07 October 2018
Oliver Wilson Monaghan Irish Challenge champion   (Getty Images)
Oliver Wilson Monaghan Irish Challenge champion (Getty Images)

Oliver Wilson claimed his second European Challenge Tour title of the season, winning the Monaghan Irish Challenge by two shots at Concra Wood Golf Club.

Wilson, who triumphed at the Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson in August, shot a final round of 69, three under par, to become a two-time Challenge Tour winner and move to 15th on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah.

The Englishman started the final round one shot behind overnight leader Niklas Lemke but surged ahead following three birdies in his opening four holes. Wilson bogeyed the fifth hole to drop back to Lemke, but it was not for long as the former Ryder Cup player made his fourth gain of the day on the seventh.

Gusty conditions tested the players throughout the day, however, Wilson showed his experience, keeping a calm head to move to 13 under par after a birdie on the par five 15th.

A bogey on the 16th did not shake him while Lemke dropped to nine under par following a double bogey on the same hole. With two holes to play and a two-stroke advantage over clubhouse leader Marco Iten, Wilson parred his way in and was thrilled to seal his second Challenge Tour title of the year.

“I’m feeling pretty pumped after that,” he said. “It was hard work today and a proper grind. We knew it was going to be tough and there was strong cross-winds everywhere.

“I was delighted to come through it and I could’ve made it easier for myself but instead made it a little tricky when I was coming down the stretch. This course is such a good test that I had to keep hitting good shots and I managed to do that, and it wasn’t too stressful coming up the last.

“My par save on 11 was pretty big. I hit a lovely shot in, but it went through the wind and I missed it long, which was a disastrous miss, but I managed to get up and down. That felt pretty big to keep the momentum going.

“I played nice after that and had a chance on the par five, but played reasonably solid coming in, missing just a few putts on a couple of greens. Overall, in those conditions, I played really well.”

Iten carded a four under par round of 68, including a chip-in eagle on the par four eighth to finish in the runner-up spot. While Lemke ended with a round of 73, one over par, to finish three shots behind Wilson in third and two shots ahead of Simon Khan and Robert MacIntyre, who shared fourth place.

The Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy, awarded to the lowest scoring Irishman, went to Connor O’Rourke as he claimed a share of 23rd after carding a round of 70, two under par round, claiming the trophy ahead of last year’s winner Ruaidhri McGee and Paul McBride.

With his victory, Wilson moved from 38th to 15th in the Rankings to increase his chances of returning to the European Tour. While Iten jumped up to 37th from 63rd and Lemke rose to 52nd having sat in 73rd place on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah.

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