Richard McEvoy produced a stunning finish of five birdies in his closing eight holes to take the European Challenge Tour’s Panasonic Panama Open by a single shot from Marco Ruiz of Paraguay.
The Englishman, who looked as though he was out of the race for the title after taking a double bogey seven at the par five tenth, put together a mightily impressive display of attacking golf to haul himself back into the tournament and post a final round of five under par 67 that left him on 11 under par 277.
That four round aggregate was good enough to edge out Ruiz, who carded a final day 71 to take second place ahead of Northern Irishman Michael Hoey. England’s Ben Barham took fourth place alongside Andres Romeo of Argentina on eight under par – with Rafael Gomez, winner of last week’s 47th Abierto Mexicano de Golf, a further shot back.
McEvoy’s victory, which is his first Challenge Tour win, secured him the top prize of €24,081 and took him to second place on the 2005 Rankings with €27,757 after the first two events of the 2005 Schedule.
“I couldn’t be more delighted,” said McEvoy, winner of the 2003 European Tour Qualifying School Finals. “It’s a great start to the season for me and it will be nice to know that I have a head start on a lot of the Challenge Tour players when we come back after the Christmas break.
“I finished very strongly today which is also very pleasing after making such a bad decision at the 10th. I got caught in the trap fifty yards short of the green, and from
there played a bad shot over the green, and it took me four more to get the ball in the hole.
“I wasn't really affected by it and I thought I was still in contention, so what was the point of worrying about it? I then hit a good shot to five feet to birdie the 11th, parred the 12th and then hit a four iron to five feet for an eagle the 13th. I three-putted the 14th, but then got on a bit of a run to birdie 15, 16 and 17.”
Both of McEvoy’s approach shots at the 16th and 17th were sublime, leaving him with simple tap in birdies, and he followed those with an excellent up and down for par at the 18th, which was enough to secure him the Panasonic Panama Open title and leave Ruiz to ponder what might have been.