An astonishing comeback at the Vodafone Challenge saw Scotland’s Richie Ramsay claim his first Challenge Tour title at the expense of his close friend and compatriot George Murray.
Murray’s missed putt from eight feet on the last hole at G&CC An der Elfrather Muhlein Germany effectively handed the title to Ramsay, who had looked dead and buried after dropping three shots in his first five holes.
But Ramsay roared back with five birdies and an eagle to finish on 16 under par and take the title by one shot from Murray and amateur ace Stephan Gross Jnr of Germany, who had led going into the final round.
Ramsay, who picked up €22,400, said: “It’s my first win as a professional after years and years of hard work, and I’m just so happy. My Grandfather taught me golf when I was six years old, so a lot of credit goes to him. I talked to [fellow Scot] Andrew Coltart earlier this week, and he told me to keep believing in myself. I kept that in mind when I bogeyed three of the first five holes.
“When I made a putt for birdie on the seventh hole, I just told myself to keep fighting, and the same again after the eagle on the ninth. After three more birdies I took over the lead again, and tried to play it safer. On the 18th green I had the chance to make sure with a birdie putt from 15 feet, but it missed by inches.
“I felt sure George would hole his eagle putt on the 18th to take it to a play-off, because he’s such a great putter. Obviously I feel for him because we’ve known each other since we were about 15, but of course I’m also delighted with the win.”
For his part, Murray professed himself pleased with his runner-up slot, which secured him €15,400 in prize money.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the second place, and not disappointed that I missed the putt on the last. I played a little better than yesterday, but my putting wasn’t as good.”
Gross also refused to be despondent, despite being denied the chance to write his name in the history books by becoming only the third amateur to win on the Challenge Tour.
He said: “It was a tremendous week, with an atmosphere I’ve never experienced before. To finish a professional tournament tied for second place is unbelievable, although I am a little disappointed that I didn’t make birdie on the 18th to take it to a play-off.
“My game was too rigid today, with more downs than the previous days. I lost a ball my the eighth hole, ended up with a double bogey and had to fight to break par. But this result gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.”
Norway’s Lars Brovold finished in fourth place on 13 under par after a round of 71.
|T2||GROSS JR, Stephan||GER||18||-15|
|T5||ARRUTI, Jesus Maria||ESP||18||-11|