Friday, 19 March 2010
Rhys Davies  (Getty Images)
Rhys Davies (Getty Images)

Welshman Rhys Davies won his second Challenge Tour title of the season after a one stroke victory over Swede Steven Jeppesen in the Fred Olsen Challenge de Espana on the Canary Islands.

A final round of 67, four under par, at Tecina Golf on La Gomera took the 24 year old to 17 under par 267 while Jeppesen, who shared the lead with Davies going into the final round, closed with a 68 to finish runner-up for the fifth time in his career.

Victory moved Davies a step closer to joining The European Tour as he advanced to sixth on the Challenge Tour Rankings with €74,024 while one more win will secure immediate promotion to The top flight.

Davies made six birdies in an epic final day battle, notably with Jeppesen, and it was the last of these, on the 17th, which secured the title as he hit a two iron to ten feet on the par five and while the eagle putt refused to drop, the resultant birdie was good enough to keep his nose in front.

“It was a great fight out there,” said Davies, who also won the SWALEC Wales Challenge earlier in the year. “There were a number of boys trying hard, especially Steven.

“This win is really special because it looks like I've got my card for next year. When I won in Wales, it was a play-off, I lost in Finland in a play-off, and with such a tight finish today I couldn't help to think about it and said, I wish I could do this without a play off! Fortunately I was able to win outright.”

Davies joins England’s Robert Coles as the only multiple winners of the season to date and is only the second Welshman, after Jamie Donaldson in 2001, to record multiple wins on the Challenge Tour.

The leading pair set out tied on 13 under and the tournament swung back and forth as they traded birdies and bogeys. Jeppesen had the edge at the turn after an eagle two on the ninth put him one ahead, but Davies hit back with a birdie on the 13th while Jeppesen bogeyed the 15th after a poor drive to fall behind. From there, Davies refused to let his grip on the trophy slip.

“I played well but hit a bad tee shot on the 15th and made bogey,” said the Swede. “That was a big blow and I think I lost my chances there. He played better. I am very happy with my second position though, it helps a lot towards the ranking, and I'm pleased with my game overall.”

The Spanish pair of Luis Claverie and Pedro Oriol shared third place on 15 under par after rounds of 68 and 66 respectively and while the tournament was denied a home winner, Oriol’s performance in particular was impressive as he only turned professional at the end of August.

He said: "I am very happy, played great and I've used my head as I have never had done before. I was very concentrated on my game.

“Before turning professional I made a resume of my career as an amateur, and I set a goal to play calm and take mistakes as a challenge. I think I have never been so concentrated in my whole life, and made no bogeys in 49 holes in a row for the first time in my life.”


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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1DAVIES, RhysWAL18-17
2JEPPESEN, StevenSWE18-16
T3ORIOL, PedroESP18-15
T5RUSSO, Charles-EdouardFRA18-14
T5DAVIS, StuartENG18-14
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