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Sunday, 12 August 2012
Kristoffer Broberg (Golferen.no) ()
Kristoffer Broberg (Golferen.no) ()
Kristoffer Broberg produced one of the most incredible finishes in recent European Challenge Tour history when the Swede holed a 60 foot birdie putt in the second play-off hole at the Norwegian Challenge to clinch a second win in as many weeks.

Broberg and Alvaro Velasco had finished regular play tied for the lead on 22 under par at Byneset GK, after a two under par 70 and three under par 69 respectively, before two pars at the first play-off hole meant they returned to the 18th tee to do it all over again.

Velasco, the 2010 Challenge Tour Number One, gained the advantage from the tee the second time out when he found the middle of the fairway while Broberg found the rough on the right and when the Swede’s second shot came up 60 foot short of the pin, the Spaniard looked odds on favourite to clinch a third Challenge Tour title.

He caught his approach thick, however, and could only land the ball five foot nearer the flag than Broberg, who proceeded to roll the ball into the back of the cup from a seemingly impossible distance before Velasco’s birdie putt missed to the right by a matter of inches.

Broberg’s Challenge Tour record now reads: three appearances - tied ninth place in the first, a win at last week’s Finnish Challenge and another title this week.

“It was amazing,” said the 26 year old, who had already won twice in Norway in just over a year on a satellite tour. “I’m so happy right now. I was so tired from the last two weeks I almost just wanted it to be finished but to finish it like that was just incredible.

“That’s definitely the biggest putt I have holed in a position like that. My drive was a little to the right and I hit a six iron but I didn’t strike it like I would have liked to. Even then, I still didn’t let myself think that I wasn’t going to win.

“I played so so today up until the play-off. I made a lot of pars and didn’t really get going at any time. I was constantly hitting the ball past the pin and then two putting a lot.

“But I can’t believe I've won two in a row, it’s just amazing. The key has just been confidence. After last week’s win I came into this week with a lot of confidence and feeling I could win the tournament.”

Both Broberg and Velasco made cagey starts to the final round, playing in the last group alongside former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson, as they each parred the opening six holes. Broberg picked up a birdie at the par five seventh hole while his Spanish counter-part gained two shots at the sixth and seventh to move into the tied lead.

Broberg continued to rack up the pars – nine in a row from the eighth hole – while a bogey at the 12th and another birdie at the 16th for Velasco meant the two players were neck and neck stepping onto the 17th tee.

They both birdied the short par five before a par each at the final hole meant it would go to extra holes and while Velasco was disappointed to lose out in such a fashion, he showed nothing but admiration for Broberg’s winning putt.

“There is nothing you can do or say about that,” said Velasco. “It was just a great putt. I tried to tie but I was too far from the hole so it was difficult. I was between clubs for the second shot and I tried to smash the shorter club but I caught too much grass.

“It’s still a positive week. I wasn’t playing too well recently and then I had a break and this week I showed that I’m back so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.

“It’s been up and down since I won the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2010 and now I can take positives from this week and get my confidence back.”

Argentina’s Rafa Echenique finished in third place a shot back after finishing with a six under par round of 66 while experienced campaigners Steven O’Hara (65) and Wilson (68) finished in a tie for fourth place on 20 under par.

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