The recent success story of Italian golf had another chapter added to it in Switzerland when Alessandro Tadini clinched a dramatic victory in the Credit Suisse Challenge.
A week after Edoardo Molinari captured The Barclays Scottish Open on The European Tour and in the wake of Italy’s triumph in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup last November, Tadini grabbed his first Challenge Tour victory of the season at Golf Sempachersee near Lucerne.
In the end the statistics show that the 36 year old from Borgomanero finished with a final round 65 for a 22 under par total of 266 to beat Norway’s Marius Thorp and Stuart Manley of Wales by a shot. But that did little to underline the drama of the closing holes.
One shot behind Thorp with two holes to play, Tadini produced a grandstand finish to clinch the €24,000 first prize which moved him up to 13th on the Challenge Tour Rankings. Firstly a two putt birdie on the long 17th took him level with the Norwegian before he holed a 15 foot putt for a winning birdie three on the final green.
“My caddie had a look at the line, we agreed on it and I hit it and it was just great to see the ball drop into the hole,” he said. “This is a fantastic win for me especially because my form up to now this season has been a bit patchy and I even missed the cut last week in Lyon.
“But I found something in my game in the pro-am and although my first two rounds weren’t spectacular, they were solid. Then I really played well on Saturday for a 64 and today’s 65 was excellent too. I’m now in the top 15 of the Rankings and I want to push on to try and get as high a card as possible for next year’s European Tour.”
Tadini admitted the recent emergence of Italian stars in the professional game had been a massive encouragement to everyone in his country.
“It has been a wonderful two years or so for everyone connected with Italian golf,” he said. “We have had both Francesco and Edoardo win on The European Tour as well as the World Cup and we’ve had Matteo Manassero come through. Now I’ve won as well which is great for me....and Italy too!”
Sharing second, both Manley and Thorp battled hard all day but came up one shot shy of Tadini’s total following respective final rounds of 69 and 66.
Thorp, looking for his first Challenge Tour victory, was particularly unlucky having produced a spectacular run for home. At level par for his round through ten holes, the 22 year old looked an unlikely candidate for success but four birdies and an eagle between the 11th and 17th set the target which Tadini eventually bettered.
Manley, who entered the final round in a share of the lead with Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, struggled to get his game going in the early stages and was one over par for the day after ten holes. The 31 year old from Aberdare recovered gamely with five birdies in his closing eight holes, including at the 17th and 18th, but a bogey four at the short 16th proved his ultimate undoing.
Further down the final leaderboard, Italian teenage sensation Manassero himself produced his best round of the week, a six under par 66, to move up to a share of tenth place. He will now travel to next week’s English Challenge at Stoke by Nayland – alongside Tadini, Manley and Thorp – with renewed confidence.