Friday, 19 March 2010

Denmark’s Mark Haastrup claimed his maiden title with victory in the Dubliner Challenge in Sweden and has reset his sights on a place on The European Tour.

Haastrup, who shared the lead going into the third and final round after Saturday’s play was washed out due to a flooded course at the Hills Golf Club in Gothenburg, got off to a great start with four birdies in his first nine holes and while Germany’s Benjamin Miarka fought back on the home stretch, Haastrup held on for his first title.

A final round of three under par 68 gave the Dane a seven under par total of 206, one clear of Miarka, who closed with a 67, and four ahead of Gustac Andersson, the Swede shooting a 68.

England’s Rob Harris, who set out in a share of the lead, shot a three over par 74 to finish joint fourth with Swede Fredrik Ohlsson (70) and Belgian Nicolas Vanhootegem (68) on one under par 212.

The €22,400 first prize lifted Haastrup into the all important top 20 on the Challenge Tour Rankings, as he climbed from 39th to 17th and, with the top 20 assured of a European Tour card, Haastrup has a new goal for the season.

“I started out targeting a place in the top 80 and then that changed to the top 45,” he said. “Now the top 20 is the goal.”

While his playing partners struggled, Haastrup pulled clear of the field to give himself a comfortable cushion.

“I started really well and got under par early as I had done the first two rounds,” he said. “That gave me a little advantage and I knew I was leading going into the back nine. But Miarka was very close and the 14th ended up as a big turning point when I birdied and he three putted.”

Miarka hit back with birdies at the 17th and 18th to close the gap to one but Haastrup was not to be denied.

“I don’t want to think too far ahead as I want to enjoy this victory,” he commented. “The money and climb up the Rankings means I can play next year and this victory gives me a lot of confidence. I have a lot to play for now.”

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