Julien Quesne sealed the second Challenge Tour win of his career after a nerveless three under par 68 in the final round of the Allianz Open de Lyon.
At 16 under overall, the Frenchman won by two shots from Belgian Pierre Relecom, who had a flawless 66, and with two events of the season remaining, the €24,000 first prize guarantees him a place in the top 20 of the Rankings who earn a European Tour card for 2012.
A seven under par 64 gave Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera third place, one shot ahead of Scotland’s Chris Doak in fourth.
At one stage Lorenzo-Vera was closing in on Quesne, who had birdies at the third, sixth and eighth against a bogey at the fifth to remain ahead at the turn at Golf du Gouverneur. He then added a timely birdie at the 12th to remain ahead, and all but sealed the win with another birdie at the 15th.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said the 31 year old, who is the seventh French champion of the 2011 Challenge Tour season. “I am delighted. For 18 holes I fought and fought, and Pierre was playing so well I knew I had to keep my concentration. When I made the birdie on the 15th I relaxed a little, and after another birdie at the 17th I knew the trophy was mine.
“It is very exciting that I’ll be playing on The European Tour next year. I cannot wait. But before that there are two events left and my target is to finish in the top five. Playing like this I think it is possible.”
Relecom continued his fine form, having finished third in last week’s Fred Olsen Challenge de España, to record his best Challenge Tour finish to date.
“It is great to go one better than last week and I’m very happy with how I’ve played again,” said Relecom. “I can’t ask for more than a bogey-free round of 66 on the last day, but it wasn’t quite good enough to catch Julien.
“He played really well – every time I made a birdie he made one too. I’m very pleased for him and he deserves this victory.
“The turning point was probably on the 15th, when I had a putt for eagle and he was short right of the green with a tricky chip. My putt missed by less than an inch, and then Julien holed a long putt for birdie to keep the scores the same. That hole was like double points.”
Lorenzo-Vera, the 2007 Challenge Tour Rankings winner, was seven under through 12 holes after flying out of the blocks, but he ran out of steam after his last birdie at the 13th, which was followed by a bogey and four pars.
“I wasn’t nervous all day during the round and I wasn’t nervous waiting to see if Julien dropped any shots in the last few holes,” he said. “I was just trying to stay relaxed and have fun and not look at any leaderboards. It’s a lot easier if you don’t look to see what everyone else is doing.
“It was a fantastic start and just down to good putting. It was a joke – I couldn’t miss. The only disappointing thing is that I was level par on the par fives, but the rest was great and overall I’m very happy to finish the tournament like this.”