After a month long spell near the top of his game, Englishman Mathew King hit optimum form to win the Skandia PGA Open by two shots, carding a final round of one under par 69 to become the 15th first time winner on the 2004 European Challenge Tour.
The 28 year old has now finished among the top six in his last four events, which has propelled him to eighth place on the Challenge Tour Rankings with €49,165.
King’s ten under par 270 aggregate ensured a two shot win at the Arlandastad Golf Club, Stockholm, Sweden, from the Swedish duo of Johan Axgren and Magnus A Carlsson as well as New Zealand’s Gareth Paddison.
Carlsson and Paddison put together impressive final day 66s but that was not good enough to overthrow King, whose previous rounds of 64-71-66 had given him two shot lead after 54 holes.
King never looked in danger of losing that advantage as he strode to the turn in two under, picking up shots at the eighth and nine to give himself a comfortable lead. He went onto birdie the 12th before bogeys at the 13th and 18th brought him back towards the pack.
Despite the dropped shots, King was comfortably home in 69 to take the top prize of €17,393 that puts him among the current top ten on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
With seven events to play, the race for the top 15 is entering the final stretch. Axgren’s tie for second helped him to third place on the Rankings – he is now just €57 behind his fellow countryman Leif Westerberg. Italy’s Alessandro Tadini continues to lead the way having accumulated €89,949 in prize money so far this season.
But if the likes of King, Westerberg and Axgren can add to their single victories in the Challenge Tour’s closing events then they will find Tadini – and the chance to be Challenge Tour Number One – in their sight.