Jorge Campillo ended his long wait for a maiden European Tour win at the 229th time of asking with a two shot victory at the Trophée Hassan II.
The Spaniard arrived at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam with two second places and a third in his last four events and when he bogeyed two of his first three holes in round four, it looked like he may miss out again.
But the 32-year-old held his nerve brilliantly, birdieing the 16th and 17th to hit the front at nine under and finish ahead of Americans Sean Crocker and Julian Suri, and South African Erik van Rooyen after a closing 71.
After a stellar amateur career, Campillo turned professional in 2009 and graduated from the European Challenge Tour in 2011, finishing inside the top 100 on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex in every season since.
That included six second places - with four in the last three seasons - four thirds and 18 further top tens from 150 made cuts but he can now call himself a European Tour champion at long last.
"It's been a long road," he said. "I'm grateful, but it's been way too long. Way too many hours of work since I was a boy to today. I'm just proud that I can say I'm a winner on the European Tour.
"I just love the game, I love competing. Most people say, maybe I'm not a winner, but I was when I was an amateur. It was a matter of time, I think I proved it today.
"I made so many promises that I have to do after I win that I might have to take a few weeks off!
"It was tough, I didn't have my A game. I was missing shots off the tee but I putted great. I hit some great shots coming in and I'm proud. I'm proud of the way I finished. I finished today like a champion."
There was little movement from the early starters and when Campillo bogeyed the par three second, Van Rooyen's overnight lead had quickly been increased to two shots.
Van Rooyen missed a short par putt on the third for his first bogey of the day but Campillo also dropped a shot and the lead stayed at two.
Suri put his approach to eight feet on the sixth to cut the lead to one but Van Rooyen left himself 12 feet for eagle on the fifth and made a birdie.
Campillo had made a good par save at the seventh and he made it count as he took advantage of the par five next to get within two at the turn.
Van Rooyen could not get up a down for par on the tenth and Campillo holed from eight feet on the 11th to join him in the lead.
A Van Rooyen three putt on the 14th handed Campillo the lead on his own but he had Suri for company soon after as the 28-year-old broke a run of ten pars with a birdie on the short 17th after a lovely chip from just short of the green.
Campillo responded with a brilliant approach to ten feet on the 16th for a birdie and Van Rooyen followed him in from similar range to stay within one.
A beautiful chip on the 17th handed the leader a two shot advantage going up the last and he made his par after a wonderful second shot from a fairway bunker.
Crocker's chances looked to be gone after bogeys on the third, sixth and seventh but he hit an excellent tee shot at the ninth, chipped in at the 11th and hit a stunning approach to the 13th to get within one.
A bogey on the 15th dropped the 22-year-old back again but he drove the 17th and took advantage of the par five last for a birdie-birdie finish.
Fellow American David Lipsky turned in 34 with a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh and when he chipped in on the 13th he briefly shared the lead. He would follow that with three bogeys before picking a shot back up on the 17th in a 72 that left him at five under.
Scot Grant Forrest and Japan's Masahiro Kawamura were at four under, a shot clear of Finn Tapio Pulkkanen and two ahead of Swede Alexander Björk, Belgian Thomas Detry, Thai Thongchai Jaidee, Austrian Matthias Schwab and South African Richard Sterne.
|T2||VAN ROOYEN, Erik||RSA||18||-7|