Sweden’s Fredrik Henge secured his second Challenge Tour title of the year and virtually guaranteed himself a European Tour card for next year when he won the Formby Hall Challenge in a dramatic playoff near Liverpool. Henge edged out England’s Simon Khan with a birdie-four at the first extra hole after both players had closed with 68s to finish tied on 10-under-par 270.
When they returned to the 544-yard 18th hole, Khan’s drive finished in a dreadful lie, which meant he couldn’t reach the green in two. Henge, meanwhile, hit a good drive followed by a three-wood to 12 feet.
Khan then punched a nine-iron short of the putting surface then saw his chip stop 18 feet short of the cup. There was further disappointment for the Englishman when his birdie attempt finished three inches away, which meant Henge, could take two putts for victory.
His eagle attempt slipped a foot past but he holed the return for his second win of the year following his triumph in the Danish 2000 Open in June.
Henge had a lot to thank the 18th hole for. The first time around, he had to hole from 12 feet to match Khan’s birdie and stay in the title hunt so the final hole proved a happy hunting ground.
“I’m so relieved,” said the 25-year-old Swede. “That should be enough to get my tour card for next year. The first pressure putt on 18 is what you practise for then, in the playoff I really nailed my three-wood from 255 yards.”
Henge and Khan were playing partners in what was to prove a head-to-head battle in the sunshine. Henge birdied the opening hole to edge in front on nine under but Khan levelled again with a birdie at the fifth.
They both picked up further shots at the ninth to turn in 32 then both dropped shots at the par-four 12th. However, back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th saw Khan go to 11 under and two clear. But as Henge later pointed out; “I still thought I could win because you can easily spill shots on this course where there are so many water hazards and ditches.”
So it happened. Two bogeys in three holes from the 15th by Khan dropped him back to nine under and level again with Henge.
When the 28-year-old from Essex hit his wedge to two feet at the last it seemed that Khan would prevail. But Henge then sank that pressure putt to set up the playoff.
Joint third on 275 were Adam Mednick from Sweden after a closing 67, Ireland’s Damien McGrane with 68, and Neil Cheetham from England with 69.
Henge’s top prize of £8,934 lifts him to fifth on the Challenge Tour rankings while Khan collected £5,952 to climb to fifth on the Mastercard Tour Order of Merit.Final results and prize money