Kristoffer Broberg became the fastest player in Challenge Tour history to earn three victories and instant promotion to The European Tour after winning the Rolex Trophy by one shot with a sensational 40 foot birdie putt on the last hole.
Since the three victories rule was introduced, Dutchman Taco Remkes (2008), Rankings winner Edoardo Molinari of Italy (2009), Frenchman Benjamin Hebert and England’s Sam Little (both 2011) have all achieved the feat, but none with nearly as much speed as Broberg, who has played just five Challenge Tour events this season.
The Swede’s recent form has been nothing short of astonishing, as he won the Finnish Challenge (on 15 under par) and the Norwegian Challenge (22 under) at the start of the month, before finishing in a tie for third place at last week’s ECCO Tour Championship hosted by Thomas Björn & Mercedes-Benz (11 under).
Broberg’s closing round of 68 for a 26 under par winning total at Golf Club de Genève, in Geneva, took his cumulative score for the past four tournaments to a staggering 74 under par.
He joins Alex Noren as a winner of the Rolex Trophy, and will now try to emulate his close friend at next week’s Omega European Masters, a tournament Noren won in 2009.
Broberg said: “It’s so amazing, I’m just so happy. I couldn’t believe it when that putt on the last hole dropped in – it was an incredible feeling. I always go for putts, so I never considered just rolling it up to the hole – I’ve always been positive with my putts. I didn’t putt very well today, but it’s great to know I can make big putts when I need to. I can’t describe how it feels – it hasn’t really hit me yet, but I’m sure it will.
“I can’t wait to play on The European Tour, I’m playing so well and my confidence is so high at the moment that I feel like I can compete out there. I’ll play in Crans next week, then at the KLM Open, then maybe I’ll take a bit of time off and enjoy this feeling. At the moment I want to keep playing as much as I can, because I’m playing the best golf of my life.”
Korean Sihwan Kim, playing in the group ahead of Broberg, had set the clubhouse target on 26 under par after closing with a round of 66 which included seven birdies and a solitary bogey.
After birdies at the fifth, eighth and tenth holes, Broberg moved to the same mark, but subsequently missed several birdie opportunities and, after hitting his approach to 40 feet on the final green, the tournament appeared to be heading for a play-off.
Broberg had other ideas, however, finding the middle of the cup with unerring accuracy to earn €24,400, a Rolex watch and a coveted European Tour card.
For Kim, consolation arrived in the form of the €18,100 runner-up cheque which moved him to 14th place in the Challenge Tour Rankings.
He said: “I didn’t strike the ball as well as I did yesterday, but my putting today was very good, especially round the turn. I couldn’t have done much more, so I’m not too upset. Any other week 26 under would be good enough to win the tournament, but Kristoffer’s obviously playing great golf at the moment. So hats off to him, I’m sure he’ll do well on the main Tour. And at least it gives some of us a chance on the Challenge Tour!”
Daniel Vancsik finished in third place on 25 under par after closing with a round of 66. The Argentine, who climbed to 15th place in the Rankings, said: “It was difficult in the wind today because it was swirling around, so that made life very tricky. But I played very well, and with a bit more luck I could’ve won. I just missed two putts on the 16th and 17th which would have made the difference.
“You need to hole a lot of putts to win tournaments, and I just didn’t hole quite enough. But I have to be very happy, because I played my best and that’s all you can do.”
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