Nacho Elvira secured his second Challenge Tour title in a month, and third overall, after a wondrous wedge to the 72nd hole sealed a one stroke win in the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda.
In bright sunshine on a dramatic final day, Elvira clinched victory – and with it a cheque for €28,000 which propelled him to the top of the Road to Oman Rankings – courtesy of a pitch perfect approach to the 18th for a closing birdie which cancelled out his bogey on the 17th.
That late gain was the final act of a round of 65 which moved Dantorp to 21 under par and just beyond the clutches of Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, who pushed the champion all the way with a closing 64 at Golfclub Schloss Finkenstein, in Gödersdorf.
Third place was shared on 19 under par by Frenchman Sebastien Gros and England’s Ryan Evans, who closed with seven straight birdies to rampage through the field with a round of 62.
But the day belonged to Elvira who, with just five events played on the 2015 Challenge Tour Schedule, has virtually already secured a swift return to The European Tour.
Elvira, whose first victory of the season came in Madrid at the end of April, said: “The wedge on the last has to be right up there with the most important shots of my career. I had the perfect distance and executed the shot exactly how I wanted to. It was the perfect end to a great week.
“I have to give great credit to the golf club, because the course was in fantastic condition despite the rain. It was nice to play in sunshine today – coming from Spain I’m not use to playing in rain, so the last two days were very tough! But I got through it, and I couldn’t be happier.
“The goal at the start of the season was just to get my main Tour card back, but I could never have dreamed I would get off to the start I have. It’s unbelievable really, the win in Madrid obviously gave me a lot of confidence, but if anything this win is even more important. It takes me to the top of the Rankings, and the goal now is to stay there or hopefully even get a third win of the season.”
Elvira had gone into the final day in a share of the lead with Alexander Björk, but immediately pulled away from the Swede with four birdies in his opening five holes.
A first bogey of the day on the seventh was swiftly cancelled out by a further gain on the ninth, and when Elvira collected another birdie at the 11th, it seemed the back nine would become a victory parade for the 28 year old.
But that was to underestimate Dantorp, playing in the group ahead, who added four birdies on the back nine to the eagle he made on the ninth hole to climb to 20 under par.
When Elvira dropped a shot at the 17th hole, the duo were tied at the top and Dantorp threatened to pull off an unlikely victory when he created a birdie opportunity on the last hole.
But his attempt from 25 feet slid past the hole and, when Elvira stiffed his approach, Dantorp knew the game was up.
He said: “It’s obviously disappointing to come so close, but I have to be really pleased with how I played this week, especially today. I couldn’t have done much more, other than to birdie the last. I had nothing to lose this morning, I knew I had to go for it and I got off to a great start with three birdies in a row. I managed to keep it going for most of the round, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough. But I’ll take a lot from this week, and hopefully I can build on it.”