Sunday, 03 September 2017
  (European Tour)
(European Tour)

Birgir Hafthorsson claimed a maiden European Challenge Tour title without hitting a ball on the final day of the Cordon Golf Open as heavy rain waterlogged the course shortly after the start of Round Four, reducing the tournament to 54 holes.

Nobody could begrudge Hafthorsson his convincing victory after he reached 18 under par to establish a seven-shot lead after three rounds at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val Andre and he becomes the first Icelandic winner in Challenge Tour history.

A first trophy has been a long time coming for the 41 year old, who turned professional in 1997, and Hafthorsson, up to 16th in the Road to Oman Rankings, now has his sights set on returning to the European Tour.

“It’s my lucky day!” he said. “It’s been a fantastic week. It’s been a while since I turned pro and there have been times when I’ve been up there but I’ve always struggled with the third day.

“Yesterday was a big day for me, I did well, and now to lift this trophy is very nice – 20 years is a long time but it’s worth it now, definitely. It feels like my time.

“I was nervous yesterday, I started off playing a little bit conservative but then I started rolling in a few putts and it turned around really quickly – of course it’s a shame to have finished it like this without playing but my golf this week was the best I have ever played.

“This changes everything. I am now able to plan my schedule, get into all the bigger tournaments that are coming up, and then anything can happen – it’s all about the top 15 at the end of the year and I’ve now given myself a great chance of that.

“It’s a special one for me, as the first Challenge Tour winner from Iceland. It’s a really good tour with some fantastic players so it’s a big achievement and I think people will definitely be happy for me.

“I’m not the youngest but I think I’ve deserved this for my patience, for the years I’ve been going through to get to this point, the injuries and a lot of stuff, so I’m very happy.”

Matt Ford and Andrea Pavan – winner of this event four years ago – shared second place on 11 under par, with teenager Oliver Lindell securing the best result of his career so far in fourth spot one shot further back.

Adrien Saddier followed last week’s play-off defeat with another top ten to climb two places to third on the Road to Oman as he finished as the leading Frenchman on home soil in a tie for eighth place.

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