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Friday, 19 March 2010

Bradley Dredge is desperate to regain his European Tour card this year and he took a giant step towards achieving that when he won the Is Molas Challenge in sun-drenched Sardinia.
A closing round of 65, his fourth in the 60s, gave the Welshman an aggregate of 18-under-par 270 and a two-shot winning margin over Markus Brier of Austria with England's Grant Hamerton, Irishman David Higgins and Juan Nutt from Venezuela sharing third spot on 274.
But his first question after signing his card was to enquire whether his fellow Welshman David Park was still leading at Slaley Hall. He was and after Park's amazing success Dredge will miss his company on the Challenge Tour for the rest of the season. But he is on course to join him on the main tour in 2000.
Dredge graduated from the Challenge Tour in 1997 after completing his maiden victory in the Turkish Open. But after a year in the big league the 25-year-old lost his card last autumn and has only one aim in mind.
"I was very disappointed to lose my card and I'm desperate to get it back," said Dredge after collecting his first prize of 10,233 euro which hoists him from 35th to seventh in the Challenge Tour rankings.
Dredge began the day two shots behind leader Gary Murphy but while the Irishman struggled to make progress, Dredge was out in 33 with two birdies. Three more followed in four holes immediately after the turn but it was an eagle-three at the 560-yard 15th that sealed it and he could afford to bogey the last and still celebrate.
"I'm thrilled but I knew this course suited me," said Dredge. "I did well on my only previous visit here, the par-fives are reachable and I took advantage of that. My short game was also good and I'd been playing well coming into the tournament.
"But you have to be patient at this game. You have to think your time will come while the eagle was the key. There wasn't a scoreboard on that hole but when I birdied the next I knew I was eight under for the round and a few shots clear. That was confirmed on the 18th tee where there was a chap with a scoresheet. Then I hit my only bad drive but I knew it wasn't going to be disastrous."
It certainly wasn't while his 65 equalled his lowest round on the Challenge Tour.
Brier maintained his solid form with a closing five-birdie 66 for 272 to go third in the rankings.
Hamerton had an eagle and four birdies in a 68 but saw his chances dashed by two bogeys, while Higgins returned a bogey-free 66 to join him in third spot but both were upstaged by Nutt who matched Dredge's 65 with eight birdies.
Murphy, one ahead at the start and looking for his maiden Challenge Tour title, experienced a see-saw round with five birdies and five bogeys in a level-par 72 to finish sixth on 275.
There was one other 65 returned, by Uli Weinhandl of Austria which enabled him to climb to joint 19th.
But this was Dredge's week and his victory will also have pleased his wife Germaine. "She wants a conservatory built on the house this year so the money will go towards that," he added. The other extension in Dredge's mind is to his career on the main tour.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1DREDGE, BradleyWAL18-18
2BRIER, MarkusAUT18-16
T3HIGGINS, DavidIRL18-14
T3HAMERTON, GrantENG18-14
T3NUTT, JuanVEN18-14
6MURPHY, GaryIRL18-13
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