Austrian Martin Wiegele won the Karnten Golf Open by Markus Brier Foundation on home soil after an astonishing coincidence in the final round contributed to a six under par 66 and a one shot victory.
Wiegele had a hole in one at the par three eighth, the same hole he aced in the last round of this tournament twelve months ago. Last year he won a car; this time he bagged another car and the title as no one in the last five groups could better his 13 under par total at Klagenfurt-Seltenheim Golf Club.
Floris De Vries and Matthew Zions both had birdie putts at the 18th to force a play-off – the latter’s from eight feet – but neither succeeded, leaving Wiegele to celebrate his second Challenge Tour victory.
Englishman Daniel Denison joined De Vries and Zions for a share of second with a superb 66 earlier in the day, and in a fine week for the Austrians, Markus Brier and Roland Steiner had a share of fifth place. It was not such a good day for their countryman and overnight leader Thomas Feyrsinger, however, who slipped down to tied 15th with a two over par 74.
Still stunned after his victory, Wiegele said of his hole in one: “It was too good to be true. My girlfriend was with me all week and every time I went up to the eighth tee box she joked about doing the same as last year. She did it today again... the pin was in the same position, I took the same club and it seemed to be the same wind so I tried the same shot and it turned out to be perfect.
“I thought it would be close but didn’t believe it would go in. Then all of a sudden it hit the flag and went straight in without even bouncing. I didn’t know for sure if it was in but then the people watching started screaming and going crazy.
“After that I was playing well without being great and nothing happened for a while until the 15th where I almost had another hole in one. It was about 20cms away. Then on the 16th I drove the green and landed on the right hand fringe and putted in for eagle from seven metres.
“That took me to 13 under and I struggled a bit on the 17th and was a little nervous on the 18th so I was happy to par both. I was more nervous waiting than I was on the course. If you’re in the clubhouse there’s nothing you can do.”
Wiegele, who had an up and down week with a sublime first round 62 followed by scores of 76 and 71, added: “I was half watching Matthew’s putt. Of course you don’t wish for a fellow player to miss, but when I saw it hadn’t gone it took me a few seconds to realise I had won and then I was so happy. I had a tough start to the season so to win here is very satisfying.
“And to do so on home soil with so many people supporting me is very special and I will remember this moment for a very long time.”
The 31 year old, who won on the same course as an amateur in 2002, is the second Austrian to clinch a Challenge Tour event on home soil after Brier's victories in the 2002 and 2004 Austrian Opens.
Zions was barely able to express the depth of his disappointment after missing a relatively straightforward putt at the last.
“I missed from three feet for birdie at the 15th and should have put that one in on the last as well. It’s extremely disappointing and I can’t really describe how frustrating it is.”