Johan Edfors became a European Challenge Tour winner for the fourth time as he took a three-shot victory at the Terre dei Consoli Open to climb to 33rd in the Road to Oman Rankings.
The Swede – a three-time European Tour champion who had not been in the Challenge Tour winner’s circle for two years – kept his cool on the back nine on Sunday, making five birdies coming home to close with a three under par 69 and top the leaderboard on 13 under par.
The 40 year old – whose birthday is tomorrow – had pulled one shot clear of overnight leader Victor Riu before an outstanding birdie on the 17th, coupled with Riu making bogey, gave him a three-shot advantage playing the last at Terre dei Consoli Golf Club.
Pressure? What pressure?— Challenge Tour (@Challenge_Tour) October 9, 2016
Edfors with an outstanding birdie on 17 and, with Riu bogeying, he is three shots clear playing the last pic.twitter.com/VhHv6sXYZo
And after a final regulation par – and having been drenched in champagne by his watching compatriots – Edfors reflected on an important upturn in his season.
“I feel great, obviously,” he said. “It’s nice to be playing some decent golf again, it’s been a while. I haven’t played much this year really, but I’ve been practising a lot and started hitting the ball well on the range, I just haven’t been able to bring it out on the course.
“This was the first week that I’ve been pretty steady off the tee and given myself a lot of good chances for birdie, and then my putting was really good as well.
“I was a little tentative in the beginning of the round and didn’t get off to a very good start there, and on the tenth hole I was two over but I saw I still had a chance, only two behind and no reason to hold back any more.
That winning feeling pic.twitter.com/blPfF1unLp— Challenge Tour (@Challenge_Tour) October 9, 2016
“I managed to hole a few putts, made three birdies in a row, another on 15, had a good chance on 16, and then made a nice one there on 17 so I had a three-shot cushion going down the last.
“Victor was only one behind and he put it in the middle of the green and I knew that if I hit a pitching wedge I could never put it too long, so it was a pretty aggressive club, and I drew it in to the flag, left myself an uphill putt, and then he three putted – it made playing 18 a lot easier!
“I think experience of winning helps. I tried to remember the last time I won a tournament two years ago in China and I had a similar sort of finish – I shot six under on the back after a poor front nine, so I’ve done it before and that makes it a little bit easier, and if you hole putts you get a little bit of momentum.
“This whole season has been really weird, so I don’t know what happens now – it’s not in my plans to go to China, but I should be in the Grand Final and also in Final Stage of Qualifying School, so that makes it a little bit easier.
“I’m supposed to be playing the British Masters this week, as a past champion, but I’ve also had some success in China in the past so that’s a bit tempting too – we’ll see.”
Edfors’ compatriot Alexander Bjӧrk shot the round of the day, a 66 that took him up to ten under par and into a share of second place alongside Spaniard Jordi Garcia Pinto.Bogeys on his final two holes dropped Riu into a share of fourth on nine under par alongside Jack Doherty, Rhys Enoch, Julien Guerrier, José-Filipe Lima and Matt Wallace, while Nicolo Ravano was the leading Italian one shot further back in a tie for tenth place.