Argentina’s Andres Romero timed his winning run to perfection at the European Challenge Tour’s Morson International Pro-Am Challenge, making two vital birdies coming down the closing stretch at the Marriott Worsley Park Hotel and Country Club to secure the €24,000 top prize.
A thrilling finish was almost guaranteed during the final round, with three players tied for the lead and another ten within three strokes of the leaders going into the last day’s action.
As the leaders reached the halfway stages, there were six men sharing the lead of seven under par. Welshman Sion Bebb, Julien Clément of Switzerland, England’s Richard McEvoy, Manuel Quiros of Spain, Andres Romero of Argentina and Italy’s Marco Soffietti were all in the same position, with a further five players just one stroke back.
Of those leaders, Bebb was the first to post a clubhouse lead of eight under par 272 after a fourth round 66, leaving the Welshman an anxious, hour long wait to see if that total would be bettered.
McEvoy was the next of the leaders in the clubhouse, tying Bebb with the same final round and aggregate total of eight under.
As McEvoy checked and signed his scorecard, Romero moved to nine under after a birdie on the 15th. With Clément and Quiros falling out of the running, Bebb, McEvoy and Soffietti were now hoping for a mistake from the Argentine, but instead of dropping a shot on the way home, the 24 year old from Tucuman closed the tournament out in style with another birdie on the 16th to open up a two stroke lead with two holes to play.
It never looked in doubt from there, and Romero eased his way home to the clubhouse with a par-bogey finish to secure his maiden Challenge Tour victory and that winner’s cheque for €24,000, leaving Bebb, McEvoy and Soffietti to share second place.
Afterwards, Romero could not hide his delight at securing a maiden Challenge Tour victory, joining the likes of fellow countrymen Sebastien Fernandez, Cesar Monasterio and Daniel Vancsik as a player who has made the transition from winning on the Tour de las Americas to winning on the Challenge Tour.
“I think that the birdie putt on the 15th was the most important shot of the round that really won me the tournament,” smiled Romero, who won three times on the Tour de las Americas in 2003. “That is a tough hole, and to make birdie there helped to relax and gave me the confidence to do it again on the 16th.
“I knew then that I had a two shot lead but was still nervous on the 18th tee. I made bogey there but I knew that was what I needed to win and I am very happy to have done it.”