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Sunday, 05 May 2019
Antoine Rozner wins the Challenge de España   (European Tour)
Antoine Rozner wins the Challenge de España (European Tour)

Antoine Rozner carded an incredible five under par back nine to clinch the 2019 Challenge de España title by four shots at Izki Golf.

The Frenchman began the day three strokes behind overnight leader Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, but surged ahead after gaining five shots in four holes, signing for a bogey-free round of 66, six under par, to seal his first European Challenge Tour victory.

The 26-year-old started the round with a birdie on the first before carding 11 consecutive pars. As overnight leader Garcia Rodriguez made back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes, Rozner made his move, holing a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th.

He followed that up with another gain on the par three 14th, before producing the shot of the day, holing out for eagle from 123-yards from the 15th fairway. His advantage was extended with a final birdie of the day on the 16th and returned home with back-to-back pars to be crowned the 20th anniversary Challenge de España champion.

“It’s amazing. I don’t know if I’m realising what has happened yet,” he said. “I played really well the whole week and I’m so happy I turned out to be the winner.

“It was a bit of a frustrating round. I was playing well and hitting good putts, but they were not going in, then I had two good putts on 13 and 14.

“On 15 it was just one of those shots. I was in the rough a bit but had a good yardage and the ball got a good bounce and it rolled in the hole. It was amazing.

“On 16 I hit a really solid shot and a great putt to make another birdie, which helped me for the last two holes.

“I couldn’t control what was happening behind me and I didn’t know what was going on. I tried to keep playing my game and hit a few good shots to finish.

“The victory will bring me confidence. It puts me in a good position in the Rankings. It’s going to be a long season, so I’ll keep playing tournament after tournament, fighting to the end, and hopefully get a European Tour card.”

Garcia Rodriguez carded a disappointing round of 73, one over par, seeing his chance of victory on home soil fade during the back nine with three bogeys in six holes. The Spaniard finished four strokes behind Rozner in a share of second place alongside Finland’s Antti Ahokas, Dane’s Rasmus Højgaard and Martin Simonsen, and Joel Sjöholm of Sweden.

With his victory, Rozner moves from 47th to second place in the Challenge Tour Rankings with Garcia Rodriguez in tied sixth position.

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