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Sunday, 24 July 2011

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  • Benjamin Hebert
  • Benjamin Hebert
  • Benjamin Hebert celebrates with his countrymen
  • Victor Riu
  • Victor Riu

Frenchman Benjamin Hebert completed the most sensational seven days in his professional career by winning his second Challenge Tour event in the space of a week at the English Challenge.

The man from Moliets provided the perfect follow-up to his maiden victory in Switzerland last week by taking home the €25,600 first prize on offer at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa after a final round of two under par 70 left him two strokes clear of countryman Victor Riu.

Starting the day in a tie for the lead with England’s Lloyd Kennedy, Hebert was coolness personified as he resisted the advances of home hero Jamie Moul, Welshman Garry Houston and his good friend Riu before making crucial pair of birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to establish a four shot lead and a fairly simple victory march to the clubhouse.

“It’s amazing, unbelievable to win again so quickly,” said Hebert who was drenched in champagne by his fellow countryman when he knocked in the winning putt.

“I don’t know what to say or how to describe it to be honest – I am still waiting for last week’s victory to sink in and now it has happened again.

“I played solid today and kept calm on the course. I made a very important birdie on the tenth hole to go two shots ahead and then after birdeing the 16th I knew that I was four ahead and could relax a little bit.”

It was a pulsating final round at Stoke by Nayland with 23 players starting the day within four shots of the lead.

The main challengers soon emerged with Moul making a stunning start in front of a jubilant home crowd. The Englishman birdied four of his first five holes to tie Hebert and Kennedy before the last group had teed off, but two cruel double bogeys quickly followed to end Moul’s valiant final round effort.

Houston then appeared at the top of the leaderboard before Riu and Hebert turned the final few holes into an all-French affair which Hebert finally took control of with two holes to play.

The Frenchman played the crucial stage of the final round perfectly, birdieing the 15th and 16th before hitting an absolute peach of an approach to the par three 18th to leave himself four putts to win the tournament.

The 24 year old, who is attached to Golf de Moliets, is now fifth on the Challenge Tour Rankings with earnings of €57,780 after his dream week. Hebert joins another French player Edouard Dubois as the second multiple winner of the Challenge Tour and both will now be focusing on winning a magical third event of the season that would guarantee instant promotion to The European Tour.

Before that the young man will head home to celebrate in some style.

"I suppose I should have two celebrations - one for each tournament!" he smiled. "Actually, I will need to have two parties because I cannot get home to Bordeaux tonight so I am staying in Paris to celebrate with friends before heading home on Tuesday for more celebrations. I'm going to enjoy the next few days!"

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HEBERT, BenjaminFRA18-12
2RIU, VictorFRA18-10
T3ETCHART, BorjaESP18-9
T3KENNEDY, LloydENG18-9
T5DOHERTY, JackSCO18-8
T5LEMESURIER, MartinENG18-8
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