Monday, 23 January 2017
Marcus Armitage (Richard Castka/Sportpixgolf.com)  (European Tour)
Marcus Armitage (Richard Castka/Sportpixgolf.com) (European Tour)

Marcus Armitage claimed his first European Challenge Tour title in style with a five under par round of 67 to win the Foshan Open.

The Englishman made the perfect start at Foshan Golf Club, picking up two birdies over his first three holes to catch up with overnight leader Alexander Knappe.

The 29 year old, who is a three-time winner on the satellite EuroPro Tour, battled with the German all day in southern China, and was able to take a one-shot lead into the final hole.

After Knappe could not convert a birdie chance at the 18th, the man from Huddersfield was crowned a Challenge Tour champion – and was emotional when describing his feelings after winning for the first time on Europe’s top developmental tour.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet and I was very emotional on the last green,” he said. “I just thought of my mum, who passed away when I was a teenager, and my Dad at home who is struggling.

“It was my Dad who got me into golf. We grew up on a farm and although he never played the game I used to practise with his clubs. When my Mum died golf was an escape for me and I just carried on with it.

“People say you should just take one shot at a time but I just gave it everything today. So many things are going through your mind, what you’re going to spend the money on, what you’re going to do when you get on the European Tour, so I just embraced the nerves I was feeling.

“You can’t escape or hide from the position you are in, so I tried to channel that energy out on the course.

“I went out there this morning thinking I should go out and try and shoot as low as I can. I wanted to go out and make as quick a start as I could. I slowed up a bit around the turn, as I had to have my hand bandaged up, but I kept going and it feels great to get a win.

“On the 18th when I had a chance for birdie I thought ‘just roll this in and you’re done, you can go and jump in the lake’. It just held up, but it was a great feeling when I realised I had won.

“I used a local caddie this week and she was brilliant. We got on really well and she spoke a little bit of English, so we had a really good time together around the course.

“I am due to fly to Dubai tonight for next week’s event, but if I could I would love to go home and celebrate with my Dad, my girlfriend and my bulldog, Molly.”

With his win in Foshan, Armitage picked up a cheque for € 72,333 which moves him up to 11th place in the Road to Oman Rankings. As the final two events of the season approach, the Challenge Tour rookie is aiming to make a late charge for top spot.

“I want to go and win the Rankings,” he said. “Now I have pretty much secured a European Tour card that is my goal – there is nowhere else to go.”

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