England’s Gareth Davies birdied the first extra hole of a sudden-death play-off to defeat Dane Anders S Hansen and win his second Challenge Tour title in the Galeria Kaufhof Pokal Challenge.
The 28 year old from Sheffield trailed overnight leader Hansen by five at the start of the final round at Rittergut Birkhof Golf Club in Germany and was still one behind playing the last. But a closing birdie for five under par 67 matched Hansen’s 19 under par total of 269 before Davies secured the title in sudden-death.
“I’m going to enjoy this one,” said Davies, whose first victory came in Egypt last year in only his second Challenge Tour start. “I was chasing all day and Anders played well but bogeyed the 16th which left me only one behind. I knew I needed a birdie to catch him and to do it on the last was fantastic.”
After his victory in 2004, Davies struggled to adjust to life on Tour and was unable to capitalise on his early victory during the season. But he has learnt from that experience and is now ready to push for a place in the top 15 in the Challenge Tour Rankings to earn a place on The European Tour.
“The win last year was a bit of a shock and I struggled,” admitted Davies. “But it was good experience and this win now puts me where I want to be. The goal now is to get on The European Tour.”
Hansen looked favourite to claim the title but each time he made a birdie, he immediately gave the shot back with a bogey on his way to a level par closing round of 72.
Davies new he had to shoot low but got off to the worst possible start when he missed a three foot putt for par on the first hole. But he bounced back on the next hole and by the turn had notched up another three birdies to be out in 33. Another birdie on the 15th closed the gap to two before his grandstand finish. A nine iron approach to 12 feet on the last set up the birdie to get him in the play-off.
In sudden-death he drove in the bunker but hit a sublime recovery with an eight iron to six feet and calmly stroked the birdie putt home to claim the title.
Argentina’s Ariel Canete finished a stroke further back on 18 under par 270 after a closing 68, one shot better than England’s David Dixon, who shot a 65, and Ian Steel from Malaysia, who carded a final round of 67.