Sunday, 06 July 2008

England’s David Horsey became the first double winner on the European Challenge Tour this season after holing a crucial 36ft birdie on the final hole to clinch the tightly contested AGF-Allianz EurOpen de Lyon by one stroke.

In driving rain more akin to his home town of Manchester than Monthieux, Horsey carded six birdies on the back nine to come home in 30 and move ahead of countryman Seve Benson in the Challenge Tour Rankings.

Horsey finished on a 22 under par total of 266 – the lowest 72 hole total to par on the Challenge Tour this season - after a flawless final round 65 at the Golf du Gouverneur for his second title in three weeks following his victory at the Telenet Trophy.

After starting the day in sixth position and three shots behind leader John E Morgan, Horsey carded four straight birdies starting on the 13th hole to give him the outright lead for the first time on the 16th.

His huge birdie putt on the 18th hole came after he thought he might have blown his chance of victory when he three putted the penultimate hole to miss another birdie chance.

Fellow Englishman Marcus Higley then picked up a shot on the 17th to move to within a shot of Horsey.
But Higley could only par the last to finish runner up and leave Challenge Tour rookie Horsey only needing one more victory to secure automatic graduation to The European Tour, just 10 months after turning professional.

The win also capped off a fabulous week for 23 year old Horsey, who secured his qualification for The Open Championship at Sunningdale last Monday.

He said: “It feels fantastic to win again so soon again after Belgium. To get that third win and qualify automatically is one of my main goals for the season, to by-pass the rankings and go straight to The European Tour.

“I started off playing quite nicely but didn’t really make any putts on the front nine. I birdied ten and then four in a row from 13 onwards. For the first 12 holes it was raining non-stop then cleared up and I thought I was going to have to make some birdies.

“I was really into it on the back nine trying to make everything I could. The three putt on 17 I thought might have cost me though.

“I thought that was my chance gone. I just had to regroup on the last and make the putt for birdie. It was playing long, the last hole, and I played rescue but I gave myself a chance and took it.

“Hopefully I can now kick on from here and get a third win. That’s the priority now. Winning two in three weeks and also qualifying for The Open means it’s been quite a few weeks for me.”

Higley’s second place finish – his second runners up place of the season following the AGF Allianz Open Cotes d’Armor Bretagne - takes him from 20th to sixth in the Challenge Tour Rankings, boosting his chance of winning his European Tour card back.

Spaniard Carlos Del Moral and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger were a shot further back in a tie for third on 20 under par, while overnight leader Morgan finished in a share of fourth with Switzerland’s Raphaёl De Sousa.


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