Sunday, 26 May 2002
Fredrik Widmark from Sweden carded a best-of-the-week seven under par 66 to claim his maiden Challenge Tour title in the Izki Challenge de Espana at Urturi in northern Spain. He finished on 276, 16 under par, a stroke ahead of fellow Swede, Raimo Sjoberg, and three clear of New Zealand's Gareth Paddison.

It was a remarkable performance by Widmark, who began the day two strokes off the pace. He parred only five holes but ran in 10 birdies to take his week's tally to 30. Six of his haul came in the closing eight holes and it was those at the final three that confirmed his victory.

With three holes to play, Widmark was level with Sjoberg on 13 under. The 26 year old missed for eagle from eight feet at the long 16th to forge ahead, then fired a six iron to ten feet and rolled that in to move 15 under.

At the 563-yard dog-leg 18th he hit three iron, then five iron short of the green but pitched to six feet and holed again for birdie.

"I just decided to go out today and have fun," he said. "It helped me to be playing with my fellow countryman, Oskar Bergman, and all my birdies were made from inside 15 feet.

"When I stood on the 18th tee I knew I needed another birdie and I got it. This win means a lot but it doesn't mean I'll finish in the top 15 at the end of the season. But it is a whole lot easier to get your card if you win."

Sjoberg, the quiet man of the Challenge Tour, birdied the long 16th from three feet and matched Widmark's birdie at 17 with a chip-in from 50 feet.

However, his birdie effort at the last needed a successful 25-foot putt but the ball finished a foot short of the target.

"I knew I needed that birdie as I heard that Freddie had got to 16 under when I was on the 18th fairway, but I didn't hit the putt right," he said. "Otherwise things worked out fine. It's Mothers Day in Sweden so I'm going to phone with the good news."

At one stage it seemed that Paddison, making his Challenge Tour debut on an invitation, might storm to victory. Despite starting with a brace of bogeys, he redeemed himself with two birdies then eagles the long eighth to turn in 34.

Three more birdies followed on the back nine including a tap-in after his eagle attempt at the 16th stayed on the lip. The 22 year old from Wellington has won on the Australasian Tour and soon found his feet in Europe with his 68 that, but for the late Swedish onslaught, would have been good enough for a play-off.

South Africa's Hennie Otto forged ahead at 14 under at one stage and in sight of his second Challenge Tour victory in Spain. But a run of two bogeys and a double bogey six at the 350-yard 13th dropped him back and his closing 72 saw him finish in joint fourth on 280.

Joining him was Bergman after a 70, and England's Iain Pyman, seeking his fourth Challenge Tour title. He knew he needed to birdie the last four holes to stand a chance and after lipping out for a three at the 15th, he birdied the long 16th and the short 17th to get to 13 under.

But he blocked a three wood second shot into the trees on the 18th and with it went his hopes as he signed for 71.

Lee James, who led for the first three rounds, never found his earlier form and a closing 74 saw him finish joint tenth on 282. But he had the consolation of climbing from fourth to second on the rankings, leaving Widmark to fill fourth spot.

Get Adobe Flash player

R2D Fantasy

Media Centre

Official Partner

Official Suppliers

This website is © The PGA European Tour 1997 - 2014. PGA European Tour, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 4LX. Registered in England No. 1867610.
All rights reserved. No reproduction, distribution or transmission of any information, part or parts of this website by any means whatsoever is permitted without the prior written permission of the PGA European Tour.