On a topsy-turvy day in Bavaria Jake Roos came out on top to claim a second title of the season at the Aegean Airlines Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort.
His final round of 70 proved enough for a two stroke victory over England’s Jason Barnes, but there was nothing simple about the manner of his win, after plenty of fireworks from the third placed Chris Hanson.
The man from Huddersfield carded an eagle at the par five tenth hole before he holed his second at the 14th for another, and when playing partner Roos three putted the same hole, Hanson had a four stroke advantage over the South African.
Five bogeys in a row coming in would be the Englishman’s undoing though, and a couple of clutch birdies at the 16th and 17th holes from Roos proved enough to claim his second title, which followed on from his maiden triumph at the Barclays Kenya Open back in March.
“It was an amazing day, just so up and down,” said Roos, who moves to fourth on the Challenge Tour Rankings. “I started off really well and was in control on the front nine, I was hitting it nicely, but then I bogeyed nine. Round the turn everything changed though with Chris making those two eagles in the next four holes, and I three putted the 13th when he holed his second shot, which had me four behind with five to go.
“At that point I just wanted to steady the ship and have a good finish, but then he made a few bogeys and I hit great shots into 16 and 17, which I was pleased to do down the stretch. I feel very blessed to have come out on top, because it certainly didn’t look like going that way an hour before the end.
“I wasn’t too sure about where I stood going down the last, as I knew Barnes was at 12 under, and probably wouldn’t have birdied, so I stayed aggressive and tried to hit it at the flag. Then as I got closer to the green I saw I had a two shot lead and it didn’t matter, so it feels great.
“I haven’t thought about a third win yet, but I’m very happy with my game, so I will try and play as much as I can here in Europe, where I feel more comfortable now. I’ve played here a bit before and struggled, but a few good results have given me plenty of confidence.
“I’ve played the last seven weeks so I’m going home to South Africa tomorrow as I’m pretty tired, and then I’ll be back to play in Switzerland. I’ll focus on the Challenge Tour the rest of the year, a few European Tour in between maybe, and we’ll see what happens.”
For Barnes there was disappointment on the final green after a three putt bogey, but this week marks his best finish on the Challenge Tour, so there are plenty of positives to take away for the man from Kent.
“I really enjoyed it today,” said the 30 year old. “I was fine until I was going down the last, which is a brutal hole. I hit a good tee shot and a sensible shot onto the green, which was when I looked at the board and saw I was tied for the lead and thought two putts and I might get in a play-off.
“I hit a woeful first putt, and then saw that Roos had got to 13, and had I seen that before perhaps the putt would have been different. So I was a bit annoyed that happened when it did.
“It’s been a good week though, mustn’t grumble, and I’ve been up there the last few weeks and the more I’m there the better I’ll get at it. I’m pleased with my game, so I move onto next week with plenty of positives to take.”
In the end the final five holes proved a step too far for Hanson, who has had one of the longer weeks of his career, after successfully qualifying for the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool earlier in the week
His fireworks round the turn had looked like securing him a maiden title on the Challenge Tour, but he was just unable to maintain that momentum for the rest of the round. His tie for third place still marks his best finish on European golf’s second tier though, and with a Major Championship debut to come, he is more than happy.
“Think I just ran out of steam a bit there in the end,” said the Huddersfield native. “I enjoyed it all today though, I battled out there, and holed my second shot with a gap wedge at the 13th. I had an easy shot into the next and pulled it left, and after that it just spiraled a little and I hit bad shot after bad shot.
“To qualify for the Open and to finish like I did here though, I’d have snapped your hand off at the start of the week, so I’m very happy.”
Alongside Hanson in a share for third place was the lead German, Bernd Ritthammer, who fired the low score of the day, a 65. On the same mark at ten under par was Italy’s Alessandro Tadini, who continued his good form to post his best finish of the season so far thanks to a 72.
Five players were a shot further back in a tie for sixth spot in Germany, a group that included Englishmen Robert Coles (69), Andrew Johnston (69) and Nathan Kimsey (66), as well as the Swedish duo of Björn Åkesson (74) and Jens Fahrbring (68).
Germany’s Florian Fritsch finished alone in 11th after a 69 on Sunday, and that was one stroke better than the only other multiple winner alongside Roos this season, Moritz Lampert, who fired a 68 of his own in the final round for a share of 12th spot.