Ivo Giner kept his cool in a thrilling climax to capture the Open des Volcans Challenge de France as he battled all the way to the last green with Scotsman David Patrick at Golf des Volcans.
The Spaniard shot a superb four under par 67 to finish on a 15 under par total of 269, and capture the first prize of €20,830, while Patrick could only despair after his poor tee shot at the last left him with little chance of matching the par four of Giner.
Up until then, the biggest gap between the two players in the last group of the day had been two shots, but even that had only been for one hole.
Patrick, who went to the turn one shot better off than his playing partner, moved two ahead after registering a birdie on the 14th but Giner found himself back level after a two shot swing on the 15th.
The Scot then managed to match Giner’s birdie on 16 before pulling his tee shot left at the last and eventually finishing up with a seven, for 272, 12 under par.
Giner held his nerve to grab a par four at the last and secure the second European Challenge Tour victory of his career, a victory that shoots him into a coveted top 15 spot in the Rankings.
“I’m very happy today - this is my second win on the Challenge Tour and it feels great,” said a delighted Giner. I think that gets me into the top 15 in the Rankings and that’s what it’s all about for the guys on the Challenge Tour.
“I’m going to play another three tournaments in a row from now, then have one week off and then play another four in a row because the more I play the more chance I have of winning my card for next year’s European Tour.”
Patrick was naturally disappointed with his closing hole but remained philosophical after securing entry to next week’s Challenge Tour event – the Kitzbuhel Golf Alpin Open.
“My bogey on 15 was my first for two and a half rounds – it was going to happen sometime - and Ivo took advantage of it by birdying,” said the Scot, whose 64 on Saturday was the lowest round of the week at Golf des Volcans
“Up until then we had both been making easy pars and then on 16 we both made good birdies and on 18 I hit a bad tee shot to the left which you just can’t do and that was the tournament.
“I can take some consolation from getting into next week. I’ve been waiting for this to happen at a big tournament for a while now and I’m glad it happened here.
“I did so many good things all week. I hit the ball well all week, I chipped well, putted well and thought well so I was pleased with that, but I think it’s something that might hit home when I fly home tomorrow. It might haunt me but I just have to take the positives from the week.”
Marc Pendaries continued his scintillating form from yesterday to fire a six under par 65 – giving him a two day, weekend total of 11 under. The Frenchman was tied third with Swede Peter Gustafsson.
A further two shots behind in joint fifth place were José Manuel Carriles from Spain, Peter Hanson from Sweden and Englishman Marcus Higley.
Higley, like Patrick, had a disappointing finish but was happy to finish in the top ten and guarantee himself a place in Austria next week. The 29 year old, who had a hole in one at Golf des Volcans last year, is looking to enhance his category 11 status on the Challenge Tour.
“I don’t even want to talk about the way I finished out there,” he said after his double bogey on the 18th, “but I’m pleased to have gotten into the top ten. I can go to Austria next week now and just keep on trying to finish high enough to stay on the Challenge Tour schedule.
“It is a rewarding system on the Challenge Tour and it’s good to know you’ll be rewarded if you play well enough to deserve it.”