Perhaps the only player who came away from last week’s Kärnten Golf Open with a greater sense of elation than Ryan Evans was Spaniard Nacho Elvira, who claimed his second Challenge Tour title in the space of a month.
For whilst Elvira’s performance was undoubtedly impressive, as he beat Swede Jens Dantorp by a single stroke to climb to the top of the Road to Oman Rankings, Evans’ display on the final day was no less noteworthy as he equalled the Challenge Tour record for consecutive birdies with seven in a row from the 12th hole.
To notch a septet of gains in any circumstances is no mean feat, but to do so on the last seven holes of a tournament and set the clubhouse target in sensational style is testament to Evan’s burgeoning talent.
Ultimately, despite his closing round of 62 Evans fell two shots shy of Elvira’s 21 under par winning total; but the Englishman left Austria with confidence high and a renewed sense of belief that, after an impressive career in the unpaid ranks in which he climbed as high as eighth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, he has what it takes to make the step up to a higher grade.
The 28 year old, a late bloomer who only turned professional at the end of last year, said: “I’ve been playing really well this year, but haven’t really threatened a low score yet. The lowest I’ve shot was eight under, but I’ve never had a run of birdies like that before – even in my amateur career.
“Because I don’t have a Challenge Tour category for this season, I’ve been playing on invitations so you obviously want to make the most of those opportunities – and I think I did that! I told myself before the final round to finish off strongly and not leave anything out there, and I was obviously listening.
“Those last seven holes were a bit of a blur, to be honest. My swing felt really good and then when I got to the greens, I could see the lines really clearly and never looked like missing – although none of the putts were from distance.
“When you get on a run like that, it really focuses the mind and you don’t want it to end. It was just unfortunate that I ran out of holes in the end! But to finish off like that obviously gives me massive confidence and momentum going forward, so hopefully I can keep it going in the Czech Republic and for the rest of the season.”
Evans will be joined in the D+D Real Czech Challenge at Golf & Spa Kunetická Hora, in Drítec, by his fellow Englishman Max Orrin, who returns to competitive action for the first time since his claiming his debut Challenge Tour title in Denmark two weeks ago.
Other notable names in the field include European Tour champion Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden and Thai ace Prom Meesawat, who recently finished in a tie for third place in the Volvo China Open.