It was a dramatic final two holes at the inaugural Euram Bank Open last year, as four players arrived at the 71st tee tied all tied for the lead.
After nearly four full days on the undulating and physically demanding Golf Club Adamstal, Dane Joachim B. Hansen, American Sean Crocker, Scot David Law and Dutchman Darius van Driel were deadlocked on 16 under par.
Playing in the penultimate group, rankings leader Hansen was eyeing his third win of the season and immediate promotion to the European Tour, while Crocker was looking to maintain the momentum gained in his most recent — a made cut in his first Major Championship appearance at The Open.
It was not to be for either player though — their bogeys on the 72nd and 71st holes respectively dropping them to 15 under par and ennding their title hopes.
In the final group, Scotland’s David Law, who had recently claimed his first win on home soil at the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge, was looking to pick up his second trophy in short order. His pars on the final two holes were enough to keep him ahead of Hansen and Crocker, but were not enough to match van Dreil, who produced some of his finest golf down the stretch, highlighted by a 71st hole birdie that propelled him into the lead.
“On 17 I thought ‘well this is the one’ and luckily I made birdie there,” van Driel said. “It helped me to take a one stroke lead to the last, which is what you want on a par three.”
When he missed the green on the final hole, van Driel knew what he had to do to win — convert his up and down. From a difficult lie, he played a delicate shot to inside two feet, leaving a short putt for the win, his first on the Challenge Tour.
“It was a little bit too long,” van Driel said. “I know I chipped it close, but it was still too far away to really be at ease about it. I felt my hands shaking, but luckily it went in.”
A nice consolation prize, Hansen, Crocker and Law all went on to graduate to the European Tour, and this year’s Euram Bank Open, which runs from July 18-21 is sure to continue Golf Club Adamstal’s tradition of identifying future talent. It was, after all, the site of Rafa Cabrera Bello’s first professional victory at a previous Challenge Tour event played at the venue in 2006.