At the end of a low scoring week at the picturesque Golfclub Schloss Finkenstein, Moritz Lampert was left holding the trophy aloft as winner of the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda.
Seven birdies and just a single dropped shot added up to a round of 65 on Sunday as the German posted a 19 under par total to win by a stroke from playing partner Byeong-hun An, with Italy’s Filippo Bergamaschi a shot further back in third position.
This latest success for Lampert, who won his first professional title earlier this year on the Pro Golf Tour, means the 22 year old will now have a full category on the Challenge Tour for the rest of the year. It will allow the German to plan a proper schedule, and it also sees him jump to fifth on the Rankings, with the top 15 earning their place on The European Tour come the end of the season.
Having just received the trophy, and a rather large cheque for €25,600 at the presentation on the 18th green, Lampert was clearly over the moon with his success.
“This is pretty cool,” said the German, who represents Golf Club St Leon-Rot, part of The European Tour Properties network. “My first round wasn’t that great, but since then I have played some really good golf, and for it to turn into a victory this week, well, I can’t put it into words. It is my first victory, which makes it special, because I have been playing on invites up until now and this just changes my whole schedule, my season, and my goals.
“It’s easy to say now that I saw it coming, but I felt like I was playing well again, and have been hitting the ball like I wanted to. To win takes so much more than just playing well though, as there are so many good guys out here, so you could say I got lucky in the end, as I holed a great putt on 15 to win by one. I’m just overwhelmed and happy, and can’t wait to go to Czech Republic next week.
“I knew that 19 or 20 under was going to be needed to win, and luckily I got off to a great start as I was five under through nine. Then I just kept on going, stayed aggressive, and knowing I was close to the lead helped as I knew I couldn’t get defensive.
“It feels like home here. Where I live we don’t have any mountains, but everyone understands me here, the people are really nice, and the food is amazing.”
“I’ve got a six hour drive now until I get back, and I don’t think my girlfriend knows that I won yet, but I’m sure there will be some celebrations tomorrow. On Tuesday I go to Czech, so tomorrow will be the day to celebrate. I don’t know what it will be, but I’m sure my family and my girlfriend will figure something out.”
Coming up just short of Lampert’s winning total was Korea’s An, who birdied his final three holes on Sunday to match his best ever finish on the Challenge Tour, which came at the Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts last June.
While some players might be disappointed to come up just shy of a maiden title, the 22 year old Orlando resident was excited to continue a run of consistent form.
“I played alright today,” said An. “Five under is always a decent score, Mo just played great today. I tried my best, and I’m quite happy with my finish, especially making those birdies in the last few holes.
“I’m getting closer to winning, I’ve still got plenty of golf ahead of me, and I think it’s coming. It is better to play more consistent in my opinion, rather than win and then not play well. I’d rather do that, play well every week, still trying to win. I am very happy with a second place finish.”
On his own in third place was Bergamaschi, who fired a four under par 67 on Sunday to continue a fine run of form in this event, having finished second 12 months ago.
The Italian finished a stroke clear of overnight leader Cyril Bouniol, who posted his best result of a maiden Challenge Tour campaign by finishing in a tie for fourth, thanks to a Sunday 69 in Carinthia. Alongside him were Jake Roos (66), who won the opening event of the season at the Barclays Kenya Open in March, as well as Germany’s Florian Fritsch (68), who had lead in the early stages of the final round.
A shot further back were Scotland’s Wallace Booth, who shot a 64 in the final round to move into a tie for seventh with the English pair of Sam Hutsby (65) and Paul Maddy (69), as well as Irishman Ruaidhri McGee (67).