Sweden’s Fredrik Widmark held his nerve to win a tension fraught three way play-off against the English duo of Gary Clark and Oliver Whiteley at the European Challenge Tour’s Riu Tikida Beach Hotels Moroccan Classic.
Tied together on 15 under par 269 after the regulation 72 holes, Clark, who carded a final round 67, Whiteley, who posted a fourth round 68, and Widmark, who shot 70 on the last day, were forced to go back to the 18th tee at the Golf du Soleil to determine a winner.
The par three final hole is a nerve wracking proposition on any occasion never mind under the high pressure circumstances of a sudden-death-play-off, and it was Widmark who coped best under pressure at the 198 yard par three, which features a narrow green guarded by a treacherous water hazard.
The Swede went at the green with a five iron after watching his fellow competitors take four irons and, unlike Clark and Whiteley, managed to get down in two to make his par and take the second Challenge Tour title of his career.
Victory ensured that Widmark moved to 13th on the Rankings, and he is now looking to add further victories over the course of the season to safeguard a return to The European Tour.
“I’m still shaking!” said Widmark, moments after walking off the 18th green and collecting his first prize of €20,800. “I am delighted to have won and I’m hoping that this victory will kick start my season.
“To be honest, I didn’t feel as though I played that well today, while the other two boys did play good. But then, I did have a great round yesterday and the tournament is played over the four days, so you could say that I did the majority of my work yesterday.
“The standard on the Challenge Tour is such now that you really need to get a couple of victories and a few other really good finishes on the board to be sure of making your card for The European Tour so that’s the way I am looking at it.
“Another thing is that if you can win three Challenge Tour events in the same year then you automatically move up to The European Tour and that is now a realistic aim as well.”
Clark and Whiteley shared second place, each winning €11,700, with England’s Ross Fisher in fourth place on 13 under par 271. Gabriel Canizares of Spain, Italy’s Michele Reale and Scotsman Peter Whiteford – who carded a best of the day 64 – shared fifth place on 12 under par.