Friday, 19 March 2010

Andrew McArthur secured the first professional victory of his career on a superb final day for the European Challenge Tour's Scottish contingent at the Reale Challenge de España in Madrid.

The 29 year old Glaswegian came through some tough final round conditions to secure a one shot victory over his fellow countryman Lloyd Saltman and Spain's Alfredo Garcia Heredia at the Casino Club de Golf Retamares, after a final round of two over par 74 was good enough to take the €22,400 top prize.

Richie Ramsay made it three Scots in the top six after a final round of 70 saw the man from Aberdeen finish on four under.

McArthur, the 2004 Scottish Amateur champion, thought he was  two shots off the lead as he played the closing holes, having been told by his fellow Challenge Tour pro –
England's Gary Lockerbie – that he was behind with just a couple of holes remaining.

It wasn't until he birdied the par three 17th that he saw the leaderboard and realised he was two clear with just the 18th to play.

"Gary had said to me that I was a couple behind, but then said 'just try and win as much money as you can'. Then I birdied 17 and had a look at the board and realised I was two clear. I hit a good drive down the 18th but had a terrible overhanging lie for my approach to the green. I managed to knock it up there and chipped it on and two putted.

"It was a strange feeling only finding out I could win when I got to the 18th tee, but I am delighted. It's a big hurdle to get over to get your first win out here – hopefully I can kick on and get my card for the main Tour for next year now. I came close last year and all I was missing was a win, so this is a big step for me."

McArthur's win saw him into the top ten of the Challenge Tour Rankings. He made a huge leap of 55 places, from 64th to ninth with season's earnings of €29,795. The top 20 players at the end of the Challenge Tour season win a place on The 2009 European Tour.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1MCARTHUR, AndrewSCO18-8
T2SALTMAN, LloydSCO18-7
T2GARCIA-HEREDIA, AlfredoESP18-7
T4MOLTENI, GregoryITA18-5
T4KARLBERG, RikardSWE18-5
T6RAMSAY, RichieSCO18-4
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