England’s Andrew Johnston stormed to his second Challenge Tour title in the space of a month after a blistering final round 64 secured a four stroke victory in Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in France.
Starting the final round three shots off the pace, Johnston tore through the field with six birdies and an eagle in his last 15 holes for a winning score of 16 under par 268 just four weeks after claiming his maiden title in the Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by MacDonald Hotels and Resorts.
The result elevates the 25 year old to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings as he becomes the first player of 2014 to earn more than €100,000 and joins Jake Roos and Moritz Lampert as a two-time winner this season.
“I knew I wasn't far away from the top but I knew I had to shoot a good one so just had to be patient,” he said. “The strategy this week was just to drive the ball well because if you hit the fairways you are coming in with short irons and I didn't really attack too many pins because they were in corners. So if you hit the middle of the greens you are not too far away."
Johnston, who missed much of 2013 with a shoulder injury, started the final round in a share of seventh place, three adrift of overnight leader Jens Fahrbring. But with the Swede was unable to push on, eventually closing with a 71 to finish in a four-way tie for second, Johnston seized his opportunity to take the title.
An early dropped shot on the second proved to be his only mistake of the round as he made gains on the fourth and sixth before making eagle three on the eighth to reach the turn in 32. A further four birdies on the back nine secured a comfortably victory.
"I had a look at the leaderboard to see what was going on”,” he said. “I like to know to adapt my game. At one point, I thought I needed to make a few more birdies and then on 18th, I knew I had a few shots so I didn't attack the flag. I just tried to keep it short of the water on the green. When I won in Scotland I was leading so this win is la little bit different.”
Johnston now looks a certainty to return to The European Tour, the question now whether he can do it by winning a third title to earn instant promotion or by finishing top of the Rankings at the end of the season.
"You never think at start of the season you are going to end up like with a European Tour card this early,” he commented. “I knew the work I have done was really good. I just keep trying the work every week and keep doing the same thing and see what happen out there."
His 64 was, however, not the best of the final day as French amateur Clément Sordet shot a 63 to finish in the group at 12 under par in joint second alongside Fahrbring, Korean Byeong0hun An and American Connor Arendell.
“That was the perfect day,” said Sordet. “I was focused on catching up with the guys on top of the leaderboard and only realised I was eight under at the end of the round. I ended my day with birdies birdies, that was great.
Sordet will continue to focus on his degree before turning professional next year. “Obviously, this kind of result is very promising,” he said>