Dane Jeppe Huldahl won his maiden professional title with a comfortable two stroke victory over Scot Steven O’Hara in the Lexus Open in Norway.
Five birdies in a sublime opening 15 holes at Moss & Rygge GK took the 26 year old out of reach and allowed him the luxury of two dropped shots in his last three holes. His closing 69 for a 17 under par total of 271 was two better than O’Hara, who mounted an early challenge with three birdies but was unable to press on and finished with a four under par 68.
Joint overnight leader Richard Bland of England carded a level par 72 to finish in joint third on 14 under par with Allessandro Tadini, the Italian carding a 69.
But the day belonged to Huldahl as the 2003 Danish Amateur Strokeplay Champion made his long-awaited professional breakthrough. Joint second in the Scottish Challenge at the MacDonald Cardrona Hotel Golf and Country Club at the end of June gave a hint that this could be Huldahl’s season and he duly delivered in Norway.
His victory earned him a winner’s cheque of €24,000 and lifted him from 17th on the Challenge Tour Rankings to fourth, consolidating his position within the top 20 places which earn promotion to The European Tour at the end of the season. Huldahl last played The European Tour International Schedule in 2004 having won a card through the Qualifying School as an amateur in 2003.
“I’m over the moon,” said Huldahl. “This win sets me well on my way to securing my European Tour card and that means everything to me. I’m thrilled.
“I got up and down well today and that helped me through although I did get a little nervous coming in. Fortunately Steven bogeyed the 17th and that gave me a two shot cushion playing the last.
“I can hardly believe it. I now want to press on and finish as high as I can on the Rankings. When I first played on The European Tour it was my first year as a professional but I am more experienced now and this win is huge for me.”
Former Walker Cup player O’Hara also advanced into the top ten with a move from 20th place on the Rankings to ninth thanks to his cheque of €16,500.