The 29-year-old from Oslo carded a closing round of 69 for an aggregate of 11-under-par 273, one ahead of Spain’s Francisco Valera, and two in front of English pair David R Jones and Jeremy Robinson and Brian Nelson, of the United States.
Over the past four years Nielsen has been runner-up four times, and third once, so it was with feeling and much relief that he said: “I can’t describe what this means to me. What a week it’s been, what with Norway beating Brazil in the World Cup and now this.
“I was really confident over the front nine but when I bogeyed the tenth and 11th I got a bit tense. But I managed to clinch another birdie at the 15th and parred my way in. Now I can relax a bit over the rest of the season and the results will come.”
At one stage in the afternoon a four-way play-off looked likely with Nielsen, Robinson, Valera and Roger Winchester all on ten under par. Valera, with a 66, set the clubhouse target but Robinson failed to match it as he missed from three feet for par at the last while Nielsen’s 15th hole birdie put him ahead.
Winchester, partnering Nielsen in the last match out, was ahead at one stage but a back nine of 41 with five bogeys, including one at each of the last three holes, for a 73, dropped him back into a tie for sixth place on 277.
In a week of non-stop sunshine and temperatures in the nineties, Nielsen’s overdue success was based on brilliant putting on superb greens. He did not three-putt in 72 holes and almost treated the local gallery to a storming finish when his 40-foot birdie attempt at the last stopped on the lip.
For Jones, it was his fifth top-ten finish in ten tournaments while young Scot, Steven Young, broke free from a miserable run of five missed cuts in six attempts with a closing 70 for a total of 277.
But this was Nielsen’s week although Surrey-based Finn, Pauli Hughes, carded a course record 63 in the second round while Ben Tinning holed a six iron from 176 yards for an albatross on the 486-yards 14th in round three.
In Italy, a birdie-three at the first extra hole, the 18th, saw Pehr Magnebrant of Sweden pip Australia’s John Senden to win the Open dei Tessali. Both had finished on eight-under-par 276, five ahead of the rest of the field, Senden having carded a 68 to catch Magnebrant, who finished with a 71.
They were level with two holes to play, then the Swede edged ahead when Senden bogeyed the 17th. A birdie at the last allowed the Australian to force the play-off but he was unable to repeat it at the first extra hole and Magnebrant clinched his first title in eight years with a birdie of his own.