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Sunday, 06 April 2014
Marco Crespi  (Getty Images)
Marco Crespi (Getty Images)

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Marco Crespi insisted a good start was key as he won his first European Tour title at the NH Collection Open in Spain.

The 35 year old, who came through Qualifying School at the 11th attempt in November to earn a first season on The European Tour, completed victory on only his 25th career start.

A three under par 69 gave the Italian a ten under total at La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf and a two shot win over Spain’s Jordi Garcia Pinto and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay.

Crespi turned in a four under par 32 to race into a three shot lead, but bogeys at the 12th and 13th jeopardised his chances.

The two-time Challenge Tour winner had only finished in the top ten of a European Tour event once before, finishing fourth at the South African Open earlier this season, but held his nerve and birdied the 14th before paring his way in for victory.

“I started very well today,” said Crespi. “I birdied the first and that gave me the confidence to go low. 

“I just had to manage my pressure on the back nine. 

“I lost a couple of shots on 12 and 13. On 12 I hit a very bad eight iron to the green, my only bad shot of the day. On 13 I had a very long iron, a three iron, and it wasn’t a really bad shot.

“But then I birdied the next; I really like the 14th because I birdied it every day.

“I played very good and I am very happy.”

Earlier Ramsay had birdied his first four holes to move into a share of the lead, with Crespi, who had birdied the first, and overnight leader Matthew Nixon.

But Crespi had further gains at the fifth, eighth and ninth to surge clear, and a double bogey six at the ninth effectively ended the Scot’s chances of a third European Tour title as he signed for a closing 68.

Garcia Pinto birdied four of his last five holes for a 66 as the 24 year old posted his best European Tour finish, while Nixon and Chile’s Felipe Aguilar shared fourth on seven under.

“Putting has been the key this week,” added Crespi. “The greens were perfect, I felt very confident and the ball rolled beautifully.

“I have been waiting a long time for this moment and I would like to dedicate my win to my wife Elena and to Carlotta, our two year old daughter.”

Garcia Pinto added: “I have been working hard all winter. I spend eight hours on the golf course, working on all aspects of the game and the results are starting to show.

“I came without expectations and things have turned out nicely; 66 is a great score to finish the tournament but we have a long season ahead. 

“I learned that last year when I won in Kenya, I must go on working and trying to score consistently week after week.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CRESPI, MarcoITA18-10
T2GARCIA PINTO, JordiESP18-8
T2RAMSAY, RichieSCO18-8
T4AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-7
T4NIXON, MatthewENG18-7
T6WARREN, MarcSCO18-6

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