Ricardo Santos returned to the winner's circle for the first time in seven years as he claimed the Swiss Challenge Presented by Swiss Golf title with a superb six under par 65 on the final day at Golf Sempachersee, Lucerne.
The Portuguese carded a 15 under par total thanks to rounds of 65-68-71-65 and finished one shot clear of Germany’s Moritz Lampert and England’s Richard Bland on a cold and rainy day in the Swiss mountains.
In stark contrast to the scorching sunshine of day three, the final round asked different questions of the players and it was Santos who had all the answers.
He began his round with four successive birdies followed by his only bogey of the day on the fifth hole, before adding three more gains on the back nine to secure his first victory since his emotional Madeira Islands Open – Portugal triumph in 2012.
“I feel amazing,” he said. “I haven’t won a Challenge Tour event or European Tour event since 2012 so it feels really nice. I feel amazing following this win and it was a great day; I can’t feel better than that.
“I’ve felt like my game has been in really good shape this season, so I thought if I play like that then I have a really good chance of winning.
“Even in Brno at the Czech Challenge, I played really solid golf and then I played amazing golf this week too. I had the feeling that it was coming soon.”
The 36-year-old, who came second at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge last time out, enjoyed a battle with England’s Bland during the final round and the Portuguese believes playing with someone on the top of their game helped him to remain focused.
“Today was a tough day because the rain caused the ball not to fly as it did on the first three days,” he said.
“Me and Richard started really solid and made a couple of birdies in a row. It put pressure on me on 17 when he made a huge putt.
“I think when you play with a good player and that player plays well, it makes you keep your focus. It helps you because you don’t have to go in the rough looking for other players’ balls and it helps the round go faster. I think it’s easier to play like that.”
Mathieu Fenasse finished fourth on 13 under par, which further strengthens his position inside the top 15 on the Order of Merit, while overnight co-leader Christopher Blomstrand, Oliver Farr and Ben Stow finished in a tie for fifth on 12 under par.
Scotland’s Connor Syme and France’s Julien Quesne, who came into the final round in a tie for the lead with Blomstrand and Oliver Lindell, shared eighth place on 11 under par, with Ewen Ferguson completing the top ten with a final round 66 meaning he reached ten under par.
With victory in Lucerne, Santos jumps to second place on the Order of Merit with 53,565 points, with Bland and Lampert moving up to fourth and 15th, respectively, following their runner-up finishes.