Bernd Ritthammer won his second European Challenge Tour title of the season at the Volopa Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort with a solid final round display which saw him rise up the Road to Oman Rankings.
The German, who claimed his first ever title on Europe’s top developmental tour in July, took a two shot lead into the final round after shooting a sublime six under par round of 66 in Carlow yesterday.
The 29 year old got off to a nervous start, making bogeys on two of his first three holes, allowing England’s Sam Walker back into contention at Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort.
Ritthammer responded well, regaining his advantage by making a birdie on the par five seventh to see his overnight lead restored at the turn.
The Munich man then made three further gains, including a stunning chip in on the tenth, to sign for a two under par round of 70 to reach 10 under par overall and beat the rest of the field by five shots.
Now up to first place on the 2016 Road to Oman, Ritthammer was delighted to become the first multiple winner of the season.
“It is an amazing feeling,” he said. “I was prepared for a tough day and I knew I was going to be nervous.
“I was kind of prepared for things to be difficult and rough at the beginning and when you start with two bogeys like that you have to be careful as your score can just balloon.
“But I am happy that I managed to follow my game plan and stay relaxed. My caddie Steve really helped me today as he kept talking to me and that reassured me while I was out there.
“The turning point for my round came at the tenth. At that point Sam Walker was playing really well and had a putt for birdie while I had missed the green completely. But I managed to hit my flop shot on line and straight into the hole for birdie.
“That was a big change in momentum which continued on the next hole where I saw Sam hit his tee shot into a good position before I made a crucial par save. I knew that 12 and 13 were birdie holes which gave me such confidence going into the final stretch where I ended up being five ahead with five to play.
“I played really well down the stretch. My wedges were pretty good and with such a big lead I knew that making solid pars was all I needed to do to hold on.
“The whole day you were just trying to survive out there. The wind gusts were still pretty heavy, but we have learnt to live with that this week, so not such a surprise, but it was still very tough with a few into the wind holes.
“I am not sure where I am going to be in the rankings, I think I have earned over €100,000, which I think should be enough to get my European Tour card for next year. I am in a very good position now and very happy!”
Northern Ireland's Dermot McElroy was awarded the Christy O'Connor Jr Memorial Trophy for the highest-ranked Irish player after finishing in tied 15th place.