Andrea Pavan has won his third Challenge Tour title after a one stroke victory at the Bad Griesbach Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort.
The 24 year old Italian finished on 19 under par after a 68 on Sunday to edge out compatriot Marco Crespi, who three putted the last hole for a bogey, having charged into a share of the lead with just two holes to go.
However, when Pavan needed it most, he made a clutch birdie two at the 17th and was able to make a bogey down the last and still take the title.
Pavan has finished in the top five in his last two starts on the Challenge Tour, and this victory comes at the end of a run of tournaments that has seen the Italian play in every event so far this season.
He got off to the ideal start in the final round with a birdie at the par four first, before another at the third that extended his advantage in Bad Griesbach.
A bogey followed at the fourth, but he bounced straight back with another birdie two holes later, and when he reeled off further red figures on 11 and 12 his advantage was two with just the daunting final three holes to play.
The finish to the Beckenbauer course in Germany has caught a number of people out in all four rounds, but Pavan handled them with aplomb and in doing so, put the finishing touches on a fine victory that moves him up to second on the Challenge Tour Ranking.
“It feels great as it is tough to win, and you can’t control that,” said Pavan. “But today was a battle, I played very well, and I hit so many good putts, and to make that birdie on 17 was great with Marco making a move behind.
“This year has been good, I’ve been playing well the last four or five weeks now, and to win, it feels great.
“My caddie just told me to stay patient, to keep playing the same way I have been, and the putts will drop, and they did, so it’s great. It’s not easy to win out here, and to get a win at this time of the season it gives me a lot of confidence.
“Two years ago I won twice, but it was more because of a couple of good weeks, and I wasn’t in contention that often. This year I have been in contention a lot, and I just hope I can keep doing that, as the more you get up in that position, the better you get.
“When you go to the next level it prepares you for being in contention on The European Tour, once you’re playing to win, it doesn’t matter what tour you are on.
“My game is good, there are a few things that I need to work on, but to play on this course and shoot 19 under par, there are a lot of positives. My confidence has been building up over the last few weeks, and I have played very consistent, and I will keep going for the rest of the year and try to finish in the top five on the Ranking.”
It had looked like plain sailing for Pavan for much of the final round, with the Italian a couple in front for the majority of Sunday, but when Crespi hit top gear on the back nine he really applied the pressure to his countryman.
Nine birdies on Sunday saw Crespi bound up the board, but he dropped a couple of shots at crucial times, and that ended up being the difference.
He said: “I was very focused on the course, I was playing great, and I birdied all of the par fives today. On 18 I just wanted to make a two putt, as it is a tough hole and Pavan could make bogey, but I missed the most important putt of the week.
“Anyway, it has been a good week for me, and I’m very pleased with the result. This performance gives me plenty of confidence for the rest of the season, and if the game continues like this then I can keep going.
“It is a long way until the end of the season, and the top 15 on the Rankings, but I will just stay focused and keep playing my best.”
Victor Riu had led after the first two rounds, and played the final day alongside Pavan, but level par on Sunday was not quite good enough for the Frenchman to contend for the title, and he finished in a tie for third alongside Norway’s Knut Borsheim.
Sihwan Kim got off to one of the fastest starts of the week when he made eight birdies in his first 12 holes, before a double bogey six at the 14th ended any hope he had of a maiden Challenge Tour title, but a birdie to close at 18 saw him finish in a tie for fifth.
Alongside Kim at 13 under par for the week were Edouard Dubois (71), Daan Huizing (72), Jeppe Huldahl (68) and Lloyd Kennedy (69).