Peter Lawrie from Ireland ended his long wait for a maiden Challenge Tour victory when he won the Grand Final in a canter at Golf du Medoc near Bordeaux. And he did it in style, posting a closing 65 for a 12 under par tally of 272, four strokes ahead of Julien Van Hauwe from France and eight clear of the rest of the field.
On a day that started miserably with persistent rain that gradually turned to sunshine, Lawrie's form shone like a beacon. He began a shot ahead and was consistency personified, opening with six successive pars then reeling off six birdies in the next eight holes to put an iron grip on the tournament.
At one stage he was six strokes clear and there was never any chance that the title would go anywhere else than to the 28 year old Irishman.
"I'm absolutely delighted and it's a great way to end the season," said Lawrie. "I said before I teed off that if I could just hit the fairways and the greens I had a chance especially how the weather was at the start.
"And I did just that. Consistency was the key, I never felt under pressure and that round has been threatening for a long time. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
"This is the icing on the cake. I can't get over it. I couldn't get over last week in Holland when I sealed my card my finishing second. This week has been a dream come true."
Lawrie's victory, the first on the Challenge Tour by an Irishman since David Higgins two years ago, capped a superb run of form. He finished joint runner-up last week in Holland, with just two bogeys, and he covered the last 45 holes in Bordeaux with an eagle and ten birdies without dropping a shot.
Lawrie, who had already secured his European Tour card for next season, collected £21,511 to climb to fourth on the Challenge Tour ranking, having been 12th two weeks ago.
Van Hauwe, who needed to finish in the top two to get his card, did just that with three birdies in the last five holes for a 67. His prize hoisted him into 15th place in the ranking at the expense of Surrey's Andrew Raitt, who slumped to a 79 for 292.
“My plan was like the other days, to attack the pins and just play as well as I could,” he said. “I was chasing Peter but when he got four ahead I knew I couldn’t do anything about it.
“It’s wonderful to get my card. I have played well all year but my putting has not been good. But 67 is a good way to finish.”
Three players shared third place on 280, four under, Jesus Maria Arruti from Spain, and the English duo of David Dixon and Simon Wakefield. Dixon, who had to win to secure a card, wrecked his chances with a double bogey six at the fourth where he took four putts. He kept battling bravely and four birdies in six holes around the turn got him to five under.
But again his hopes slipped away, two bogeys dropping him back and even a final birdie at 18 couldn't hide his disappointment with a 71. "I battled with the putter all day," he said. "The four putt at the fourth was the end of my round and it was just one of those days."
Wakefield was going well and got to six under after eight holes, but he was unable to make further inroads despite carving out a string of chances. He would have finished third on his own but he missed the final green to drop a vital shot.
It was a bad day for Italy’s Massimo Florioli and Gustavo Rojas from Argentina. Florioli was looking to climb into the top 15 on the ranking but he bogeyed four of the opening five holes and eventually signed for 75, while Rojas never found the form of his earlier rounds and returned 74, both for 283