Challenge of Ireland (Getty Images)
Australian Andrew Tampion claimed his maiden European Challenge Tour win at the Challenge of Ireland presented by Glasson after four consecutive birdies before the turn sent him surging through the field.
Tampion holed a 12ft birdie putt on the last hole for an impressive final round 67 to finish a stroke clear of Richard Bland and David Drysdale on eight under par at Glasson Golf Hotel and Country Club.
The players ahead of him at the start of the day all missed their shot at victory, with Bland and Jonas Blixt, who had each led at one stage during the final round, both failing to make birdie putts on the last, while overnight leader Richie Ramsay missed a three footer on the 17th as his chance of a maiden win slipped away.
That allowed Tampion, who produced the joint best round of the day with Wales’ Rhys Davies after starting tied 11th, to get his hands on the silverware for the first time as a professional.
The 23 year old from Melbourne was a product of the same Australian Government Sports programme that produced the 2006 US Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy and he gave a glimpse of his own talent with seven birdies and just two bogeys.
He said the win was vital to reclaiming his European Tour card which he lost last year, despite a fine start to the season which saw him tie second behind Mikko Ilonen at the Indonesia Open.
“It definitely gives me a boost to get back on The European Tour next year,” said Tampion. “I played the main Tour last year and played ok but not great. I’m out here for the year and hopefully this could be the first of many wins and get straight back out there. I’ve won amateur tournaments but it was different to stand on the last tee as leader.
He added: “It feels great but it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’ve been playing really well lately but not putting as well as I can so to finally hole some putts today and to win my first event is a fantastic feeling.
“I had a good stretch through six with four birdies on the spin. After I went though ten I thought I was in this golf tournament and I played steadily on the back nine.
“I didn’t like the pin position on the last hole all week so I was happy to see it down the front a bit more. It was a tough little putt down the hill on the left edge from 12 ft and I got the right speed.”
Tampion said playing in The Open Championship last month, where he missed the cut by just two strokes, had also been a major boost to his confidence.
“You walk out thinking I was on the range with Ernie (Els) and Vijay (Singh)and you come back here and it gives you more confidence and you think I should be here,” he said.
Scotland’s Drysdale, another player with European Tour experience, birdied the last two holes to finish tied second with Englishman Bland.
Ireland’s Gareth Shaw, spurred on by a text message from friend Graeme McDowell advising him to play his own game, led the home contingent in only his second professional tournament after a flawless final round 69 to tie with Blixt, Marcus Higley, Carlos Del Moral and Ramsay two strokes behind the winner.
Compatriot Gareth Maybin was a shot further back on five under par after a 67, while Glasson’s touring professional Colm Moriarty carded a final round 75 to finish in tied 24th on two under par.