After five second place finishes and 287 events, England’s John Bickerton finally made his winning breakthrough on The European Tour with a stunning five stroke victory in the Abama Open de Canarias.
Bickerton fired a three under par 68 over the spectacular Abama course to finish on ten under par 274, five clear of fellow Englishman Stuart Little and South African Michael Kirk.
As valuable as the win was also the one year exemption Bickerton has secured until the end of 2006. Coming into the week he was lying 118th in the Order of Merit and in danger of losing his playing privileges but his victory in Tenerife has erased all those concerns.
Furthermore he earns a place in the HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai next month.
At the start of the season both Steve Webster and Bickerton were lined up as the best players never to have won a tournament having both come close on a number of occasions and each finished runner-up five times in their career. But 2005 has been a year of redemption for both Englishmen as first Webster broke his duck in Italy and now Bickerton has followed suit.
Starting out with a one stroke lead, Bickerton pulled further away with three birdies in his first ten holes. He dropped a shot on the 12th but by then was well clear of his rivals and made sure of victory with a fourth birdie of the round on the 13th before parring in.
"Finally," he sighed afterwards. "It feels fantastic, awesome. It's been a long time coming and I've been very worried about my place on Tour.
"It's your career, your future lies on this game and a few quid makes such a difference. I moved down five spots last week, but it made me more determined and it's nice to pull it off under pressure."
Little was already safe on tour for next season, but second place represented his best finish of his career, while Kirk is now certain to graduate to the main circuit from the Challenge Tour.
Joint fourth were Scot Marc Warren, Swede Johan Axgren and, in his 500th tour event, Sheffield's Mark Roe.
For Roe it also means he saves his card. He was 117th on the money list prior to the tournament and after his best finish for four years he commented: "That was hard work.
"It's pleasant on reflection, but not when you are doing it. It does not get any easier the older you get."