England’s Seve Benson claimed his first European Challenge Tour win with a three stroke victory at the Piemonte Open in Italy to move into fifth place in the Rankings.
Benson overcame illness for the second consecutive day to card a final round two under par 70 and hold off the challenge of Switzerland’s Raphaёl De Sousa on the Royal Park Golf and Country Club in Torino.
The 21 year old continued the fine form that saw him shoot a course record ten under par 62 in the third round yesterday by carding birdies on the second and third holes.
He dropped a shot on the sixth before another birdie on the eighth hole and a run of ten pars saw him finish on 19 under par for the tournament.
De Sousa’s challenge faltered on the 15th hole when he shot a double bogey to allow Benson breathing space at the top of the leaderboard.
While the Swiss clawed a shot back on the final hole it was not enough to topple Benson’s lead, leaving the Englishman to lift his first trophy despite struggling for with a fever and muscle soreness for the final two days.
Benson said: “I can’t really believe it at the moment because of the way that I have been feeling for the past two days. I felt better today but still not 100 per cent. I wasn’t fully better but it was more bearable and more fun playing today.
“I knew I had to shoot at least one or two under to win today, although that was not guaranteed. I actually had a few chances to pick up some more shots on four and five and I missed a good chance on ten so more could have been even better but I’m delighted to win.
“I’m not sure why the scores weren’t as low as they were yesterday because the conditions were a lot better today – we didn’t have a drop of rain until the winners’ presentation.”
Benson admitted playing alongside his friend and countryman James Morrison, who he knows from his amateur days, helped him through the final day’s play.
“I think we spurred each other on today,” said Benson. "It’s a shame James didn’t score as well as he wanted but it very enjoyable to play with him and it was more relaxing having a friend beside you.”
The Surrey player said he planned to take a week off to recover and would take the opportunity to watch the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, where he one day hopes to be taking on the world’s best golfers.
Benson said he wanted to build on his maiden win and follow in the footsteps of another friend, Ross Fisher, who is currently in The European Tour’s Order of Merit Top 20 after graduating from the Challenge Tour.
“I’ve been going to Wentworth Club since I was 16 and of course it would be a dream to play in a big tournament there,” he said.” My good friend Ross Fisher opened my eyes a bit. We’ve been friends for a long time and it would be nice to follow what he has done.
“I’m going to take this next week to work on my health and fitness and then I’m playing at the Oceânico Group Pro-Am Challenge in Manchester. It would be great to win my European Tour card this season or next and be able to play at big tournaments at Wentworth.”
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