Norwegian Espen Kofstad finished eagle, birdie, par to claim his maiden Challenge Tour victory in the Doubletree by Hilton Acaya Open, edging out Joachim Hansen of Denmark at the last hole.
A superb five under par 65 took the 24 year old to nine under, but he was helped by Hansen’s bogey at the 18th, when he failed to get up and down from the rough at the back of the green.
Until those last three holes, it had looked to be Hansen’s day, the Dane carding four birdies and an eagle – at the first hole, which was a whisker away from being an albatross – but Kofstad turned it around in sublime style.
He drained a 40-footer at the 17th to tie with Hansen at the top of the leaderboard, and showed nerves of steel to hole out on the last for par after the Dane bogeyed.
“I’m so excited I’m shaking like a leaf,” said Kofstad. “I’m buzzing. It’s so great to win. The shots just came off all day and I’m so proud of the way I played, as I’ve never been in the lead in a final round before.
“I had a lucky bounce on the 16th with my second shot and it went to within three feet of the pin, and then I made the putt across the green from the left edge on the 17th. That was unreal.
“I had a feeling it might be my day when I holed the bunker shot on the first, but then Joachim was playing amazingly well and flushing every shot. He was unlucky hitting it long on the last and it’s tough to see a fellow pro do that. I was fully expecting a play-off. It’s unfortunate for him, but he’s played unbelievably all week.
“That putt on the 17th was definitely the highlight of the day. It just magically dropped and there were quite a few people watching who went crazy.
“I’m going to try and play as much as I can in the next few weeks, while I’m playing well. There’s no point taking time off if I’m in this form, I’ve just got to keep going.
“The goal for the season was always to finish in the top 15 in the Rankings, so this will obviously help a lot in achieving that.”
Hansen, 21, has been in fine form of late, making the cut in his last four appearances before this week and finishing no worse than 28th from those. He was bitterly disappointed not to have at least gone into a play-off, but credited Kofstad’s final charge.
“I’m so disappointed with the last hole,” he said. “I knew Espen was playing well and I couldn’t think of victory, but to make bogey on the last is extremely tough to take. Well played to Espen, though. He played so well all day and to finish like that was unbelievable.
Finland’s Roope Kakko took third place with a final round 68, it was a productive day for Englishmen Matthew Southgate (65) and Lloyd Kennedy (64) to finish fourth and fifth respectively.
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