Julien Quesne (Getty Images)
Julien Quesne produced the round of his life on the final day of the Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol and with it walked away with the €166,660 winner’s prize.
The 31 year old Frenchman, who graduated from last season’s Challenge Tour, had never before won more than the €22,464 he took home for finishing 17th at last month’s Avantha Masters in a European Tour event.
But an eight under par 64 – matching the Aloha course record – took him to 17 under par and neither Matteo Manassero nor Eduardo De La Riva could catch him.
“It’s the best day of my life,” said Quesne, after becoming the 400th different European Tour winner.
"It’s not easy because you have Matteo Manassero, Miguel [Angel Jiménez], Pablo Larrazábal, they all played good so I just tried to play shot after shot and do my best.
“I knew that if I holed the putt at the last I’d have a good chance.
“I’m very happy. It’s very quick for me to win this year.”
Quesne birdied four of the last five holes, his magnificent approach to the difficult 18th leaving him a five foot putt which he nervelessly holed.
The two-time Challenge Tour winner, never previously higher than 16th in a European Tour event and 322nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, finished two clear of Italian teenager Manassero, with De La Riva a shot further back in third after bogeying the last.
Quesne birdied both par fives on the front nine, and rolled in mid-range birdie putts at the eighth and ninth to turn in 32.
After five consecutive pars he sunk a 12 footer at the 14th to spark his decisive run, rolling in a 15 footer at the 15th and two-putting from 60 feet at the long 16th before producing one of the shots of the week into the final green.
Manassero and De La Riva were both 15 under at that stage, but neither could force a play-off over the difficult closing holes.
Manassero eventually signed for a 68, while overnight leader De La Riva went round in 70 to match his previous best European Tour finish of third.
“I felt calm and in control but I missed two short birdies on the first two holes, and after that my putting was generally poor,” said 29 year old De La Riva. “I am quite happy with my performance. I played great all week and I had a good chance of winning but my putter let me down over the weekend.
“Third seems to be my place at the moment - hopefully I will get over that.
“I look forward to playing at Morocco next week. I am playing great, and if I can hole the putts I will have a good week.”
England’s David Lynn failed to build on a 30 foot eagle at the fifth as he finished fourth, one ahead of South African Hennie Otto and Quesne’s compatriot Raphaël Jacquelin.
Jacquelin led for much of the afternoon after four straight birdies on the front nine – the highlight a 40 foot putt on the fourth – but a wild second to the 12th led to consecutive bogeys as his challenge faltered.
Tournament host Jiménez, aiming to become the oldest winner in European Tour history, finished in a share of seventh after a 71.