Sunday, 18 June 2006

Sweden’s Kalle Brink won the Lexus Open after two miraculous shots propelled him to a three stroke victory at Larvik Golf Club in Norway.

The golfing gods were smiling on the 30 year old as early in his final round he holed from a bunker on the par five third for an eagle three and then on the 11th Brink hit a the perfect eight iron straight into the hole for an eagle two.

Those two shots took him clear of the chasing pack and his closing 65 gave him a winning 13 under par total of 275, three ahead of Spain’s José Manuel Carriles, Scot Greig Hutcheon and the Norwegian pair Peter Kaensche an Jan-Are Larsen.

With a strong wind gusting at Larvik, Brink’s total proved too good for those giving chase and earned him his secured his third Challenge Tour title, seven years after his last victory.

“I birdied the first and then holing my bunker shot on the third gave me a great start,” said Brink, who played two years on The European Tour after graduating from the Challenge Tour in 1997 in second place in the Rankings.

Despite dropping a shot on the fifth he kept the momentum going with birdies at the seventh and eighth to be out in four under par before effectively sealing victory on the 11th.

Playing into the wind, Brink hit his drive over the creek which dissects the fairway.  Keeping his second shot low and left of the bunker, Brink executed the perfect eight iron into the hole to move to 13 under par and out of reach.

“It has been a long uphill struggle,” admitted Brink, who collected €19,200 for his win. “I have been working hard but the main thing is I am thinking differently. My head has not been there.”

Brink has been working on his game with his coach Torsten Hansson, who also works with the likes of Henrik Stenson and Peter Hanson, but it was a pep talk from his first mentor, Keith Davies, who had coached him since he was ten years old, that finally made the difference.

During a round together earlier in the week, Davies told him to just “go and have fun”.

“He told me to remember how much I enjoyed winning when I was a junior at the club and take that feeling into the week,” said Brink. “I had that thought with me and it worked.”

For Larsen there was no win on home soil after a final round 71 left him trailing at ten under par. He shared second place with compatriot Kaensche, who made a final day charge with a 65, Carriles (66) and Hutcheon (68).

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