Sweden’s Martin Erlandsson completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Izki Challenge de España, securing his maiden Challenge Tour title at Izki Golf, Urturi, with a 15 under par total of 273, three strokes clear of the field.
The 29 year old led from the start following a course record 64 in the opening round and held off the challenges of José Manuel Carriles, Scott Drummond, Peter Hanson and the previous week’s winner Martin LeMesurier with a final round of 71, one under par.
Having started the final round one clear of Carriles, Erlandsson stamped his authority on the tournament by chipping in twice for birdie on the eighth and 12th holes. With the rest of the field trailing in his wake he could afford the luxury of two late bogeys on his way to the €22,500 first prize. Victory lifted him to fourth in the Challenge Tour Rankings.
"I feel shaky, but very happy,” said Erlandsson. “I have been very tense all week, but I was better prepared today than yesterday, more focused, just trying to play my own game. I won last year at the Scandinavian Tour, but this is my first victory on the Challenge Tour and it means a lot to me.”
Carriles started the final round as Erlandsson’s closest challenger and when he birdied the first the scores were level. But Carriles’ challenge faltered with two bogeys on the next two holes and a final round of 73 was never enough to threaten Erlandsson as the Spaniard finished on 12 under par 276.
"I didn't feel comfortable at all,” said Carriles. “I started well with a birdie, but then dropped shots on the next two holes and I was never in contention.”
He was joined by Drummond, who climbed to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings with €35,897 after securing his fourth successive top ten finish and second runners-up placing on the Challenge Tour this season after a final of 68 put him on 12 under par.
Hanson showed a welcome return to form after three missed cuts with a final round of 69 while LeMesurier, who claimed his maiden Challenge Tour title in Italy last week, completed the quartet in second place when continued his rich vein of form with an impressive closing 69.
"I couldn't have asked for more,” said LeMesurier. “In the first two tournaments of the season, I win one and joint second in the other. It should have been two shots less today, but I am very pleased having started badly the first round and then being 13 under par over last three days.”