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Wednesday, 14 August 2019
Andrea Pavan  (Getty Images)
Andrea Pavan (Getty Images)

Andrea Pavan returns to the scene where his European Tour came to life as he defends the title at this week's D+D Real Czech Masters.

The Italian had twice come through the European Challenge Tour and Qualifying School without ever keeping hold of his card when he arrived at Albatross Golf Resort last season, and produced a brilliant back nine of 31 on Sunday to win his first European Tour title.

Since then he has won a second crown at the BMW International Open and made his Open Championship debut, and he now feels truly comfortable in the upper echelons of the game.

"It's nice to be back," he said. "Last year was a very special week and I was looking forward to coming back here for a long time so finally to be here is great.

"Early on in the year I didn't have a great start and then my game has been trending upwards. That win in Germany was very special, it got me into The Open, got me way up in the Rankings and set up the rest of the year.

"The Open was a great experience, it was obviously a big week. I didn't perform as well but I felt good playing it, I felt like I was part of it, not just excited to be there.

"This week we're here to try to defend and play as well as I can. I feel like I'm coming in with some form so hopefully I can do very well."

Pavan went out with three time Major Champion Padraig Harrington in the final group on Sunday last year and trailed the Irishman by three shots at the turn.

That brilliant back nine saw him turn the event on his head and Harrington believes that performance suggests many more wins could be on the cards.

The Open was a great experience. I felt like I was part of it, not just excited to be there - Andrea Pavan

"He won that tournament like I've won many a tournament," said the 2020 European Ryder Cup Captain. "He grabbed it at the right time. 

"He should take a lot of pride and experience from the fact that that is what you do to win tournaments - you time it perfectly, you get in position, you grab it when you get an opportunity and he really did.

"He stole it from me if anything, I've done that many a time in tournaments and that's what experience is, knowing where to push and go all out.

"He should take a lot of confidence from that win going forwards, to all extents and purposes he looks like a winner - that's what winners do, they take their chance when it comes round and he certainly did."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-19
2ARNAUS, AdriESP18-18
T3PAVAN, AndreaITA18-16
T3HORSFIELD, SamENG18-16
T5SCHWAB, MatthiasAUT18-14
T5JOHNSTON, LiamSCO18-14

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