Alexander Knappe claimed his second European Challenge Tour title in style with a five under par round of 67 at the Hainan Open to seal a European Tour card for next season.
The German started the day in a tie for first place with England’s Sam Walker and Holland’s Reinier Saxton, and bounced back well from a bogey on his first hole to eagle the second by holing out from 55 yards.
The 27 year old has twice come close to sealing his second win on the 2016 Road to Oman, narrowly missing out on victories at the Cordon Golf Open and the KPMG Trophy.
But this time the man from Paderborn made no mistake and was over the moon with how he was able to keep his composure and secure a place on the European Tour for next season.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Knappe, who won the tournament which was reduced to 36 holes after heavy rain caused multiple delays. “I was really focused and it was my target this morning to go out there and concentrate on each shot and make it count.
“I really enjoyed it out there today. I only dropped one shot today at the first hole when I was a little bit unsure in the wind, I was in between a six and a seven iron on my second shot, but after that I really played well.
“Late last night when I started my second round I made an eagle where I hit a really good drive, then I was left with 230 yards to the pin. I then hit my second shot really well on to the fringe, before going on to hole a 55-yard putt – which felt really good.
“At the start of the week I felt that my putting was an issue, so I went to practise and before I knew it seven hours had passed by. I spent a lot of time working on my long putting, so it was really satisfying to hole a few long ones during the week.
“I arrived in China a week before anyone else to prepare for this tournament. I went to Foshan to practise to get used to the heat, the adjustment in the climate and the time change.
“I didn’t feel that my game was in good shape before this week. I didn’t have a good result in Kazakhstan, and I am delighted that all of my hard work has paid off.”
Going into the tournament on the Chinese island, Knappe had earned € 94,205 in 16 events and was vying for a European Tour card. After scooping € 37,483 this week, the two-time Challenge Tour champion is certain to be competing on the Race to Dubai next season – and he couldn’t be happier.
“Everybody before this tournament said ‘you already have you card’,” he said. “But I felt that I was just on the edge and I thought anything could happen with these big tournaments now. I felt as though I really needed to play well and have one more top three. To have done that here is fantastic.”