Ivo Giner clinched his second title in three weeks at the Golf Club Padova Terme Euganee International Open with an incredible 29 under par 259 total – the lowest in European Challenge Tour history.
The Spaniard had to wait until the last putt of the tournament – that saw him birdie the 18th – to secure his win after coming under intense pressure from his playing partner Martin Erlandsson, whose course record 62 gave him a total of 260 and brought him to within one stroke of forcing a play off.
Giner picked up a cheque for €18,000 for his victory, and following his win at the Open des Volcans Challenge de France two weeks ago and then his joint eighth finish at the Golf Alpin Kitzbühel Open last weekend, the 27 year old has moved from 62nd to fifth place in the Rankings in the space of 21 days.
“I feel incredible right now,” he said after signing the scorecard that broke the lowest score record in the 15 year history of the Challenge Tour, as well as the lowest total of 261 that was set by David Geall in Austria last week.
“I played really well all week and to move so high up in the Order of Merit in such a short space of time has given me real confidence. But it was tough out there today – especially playing beside Martin who broke the course record and played great all day.
"My Ranking has changed very quickly, but my priorities won’t change. At the start of the season I was trying to play on The European Tour and the Challenge Tour, but I decided a few months ago to concentrate on finishing in the top 15 of the Challenge Tour Rankings.
“I’m fifth now with just over €50,000, and I’d say I need another €5000 or so to be sure of my Tour card for next year. But that is for me to worry about at the end of the year. For now I will just concentrate on one week at a time – that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks and I think it’s working out all right!”
The last day pressure on Giner did not just come from Erlandsson. Italian Gianluca Baruffaldi, who was in the third last group of the day, went to the turn in an astonishing 29 strokes, but couldn’t maintain his charge for the title on the back nine and finished with a 65 for 23 under par, 265 – joint third place with Pari Purhonen of Finland.
Erlandsson was philosophical after his second place finish secured him €12,000 and third place on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit.
“I’m really happy today,” said the 29 year old Swede. “Especially after breaking the course record and having such a great battle with Ivo out there.
“I know I’m well on the way to guaranteeing a top 15 finish and that’s what we’re all playing for. I think another couple of top ten finishes will see me through and hopefully I have the confidence and consistency to achieve that.”