Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Oscar Stark  (European Tour)
Oscar Stark (European Tour)

Oscar Stark sealed a maiden European Challenge Tour victory with a closing birdie to win the Made in Denmark Challenge – presented by Ejner Hessel by two shots at Royal Oak Golf Club.

The Swede stayed calm in difficult windy conditions to close with a three under par 69 and finish on 14 under par overall, with Dominic Foos, Victor Perez and Adrien Saddier in a tie for second place.

Stark’s victory takes him to seventh spot in the Road to Oman Rankings though, on a day of much movement on the leaderboard, he was not aware of his achievement until his final putt dropped on the last green.

“I didn’t really know how I was standing out there,” said the 28 year old. “I made a long birdie putt on 15, that was huge, but I managed to keep it together over the last few holes and I knew I would be close.

“I was trying to take it shot by shot and just breathe out there, focus on every shot and try to ignore anything else going on around me – I knew birdieing the last was then enough.

“It feels amazing to be a Challenge Tour winner, it’s pretty surreal – I don’t really understand it yet but I guess on the ferry home I might have a couple of beers and celebrate and it will sink in.

“This is big for my season. I’m into the Rolex Trophy now and it now means I will focus on the Challenge Tour, because I played a few European Tour events at the beginning of the year.

“I made a couple of cuts there and played steady, I learned a lot of things about my game so I think that really helped me play so well this week, but now the top 15 is the goal, it’s the way to go and hopefully I can continue this good play and secure a European Tour card.”

Road to Oman leader Julian Suri had led by two shots at the start of the final round and extended his lead with a birdie on the second but a run of five bogeys in his next six holes put paid to his victory chances and brought the rest of the field back into it.

At various points Frenchmen Saddier and Perez both led, while Foos’ eagle putt on the 17th would have tied the lead with one hole to go but after the German’s effort came up short, Stark got up and down from the fairway bunker on the last to seal his triumph.

Earlier, Jamie McLeary had fired the round of the day, and extraordinary seven under par 65 that earned him a share of fifth place on 11 under par alongside Chase Koepka, Maarten Lafeber and Jurrian van der Vaart.

Also on that mark was local hero Niklas Norgaard Møller who delighted the Danish crowds with his best ever performance on the Challenge Tour, with Harry Casey one shot further back completing the top ten.

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