Kaleka clinches second title in Russia

09/09/2012 15:24:54
Alexandre Kaleka (Vorobiev Valeriy) ()
Alexandre Kaleka (Vorobiev Valeriy) ()
Alexandre Kaleka claimed his second European Challenge Tour title as his two under par round of 70 was enough to overcome Alessandro Tadini after a thrilling battle in the final day of the M2M Russian Challenge Cup.

The Frenchman began the day two shots off the lead held by Alessandro Tadini and, on an intriguing day where the lead was exchanged back and forth, he battled his way back from a double bogey at the 15th hole to claim his first title in three years.

The win moved him from 12th in the Challenge Tour Rankings to fifth and means he is now almost certain to earn a card for The European Tour next season.

Kaleka put the pressure on Tadini early on with birdies at the fourth and seventh holes, which him to the turn in two under par, but Tadini didn’t look like budging and also played the front nine in two under par to maintain his lead.

It all began to unravel for the Italian, however, and back to back bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes followed by another at the 14th put Kaleka into the lead.

The man from Montpellier stumbled with a seven at the par five 15th to open the door again, but a birdie at the 17th meant he carded a two under par round and left Tadini with a ten foot, downhill par putt to take it to a play-off. He rolled it past the hole on the right though, to hand Kaleka the title.

“I played well today,” said the 25 year old, who burst on to the Challenge Tour scene with a debut victory at the ALLIANZ Open de Lyon in 2009. “Obviously when you are close to the lead you are thinking about things a lot but I hit a lot of good shots.

“I struggled with a few of the first holes but then I just played solid. I thought I could go a bit lower and my goal was to get to ten under. I didn’t know how Tadini was playing because I didn’t look at the leaderboard but seven under was enough thankfully.

“I hit a perfect tee shot into the wind at 15 and I was unlucky. Then I wanted to use a three wood and it was a bad shot and went into the thick rough. I decided to take a penalty drop and then I it to the green and two putted.

“This win seemed much easier than the last. It’s never easy to win but if you play consistently you know you are going to be close sometimes but it’s not only about you. It’s about Alessandro too and unfortunately for him he two-putted but it was good for me luckily.”

Afterwards, Kaleka revealed an unlikely Russian ancestry which may have contributed to his comfort in the surroundings this week.

“I have never met my grandparents but they came from Russia to France earlier last century so I like it here,” he said. “It’s a pity we are so far from Moscow because it’s a great city. I saw it two years ago but it has been a very good week this week.

“I think I will feel good for Kazakhstan next week now. It’s a good tournament and I will try to have the same week as this week.

Tadini, meanwhile, was disappointed not claim his second win in four weeks, having emerged victorious from the ECCO Tour Championship presented by Thomas Björn and Mercedes Benz recently, but took positives from the week after signing for a one over par final round of 73.

“I actually played well today,” said the Italian. “I was very good on the front nine but the back nine was too long for me because I'm not long with the driver or irons so I was missing the greens.

“I missed some putts and didn’t chip well but I'm happy with the week. Maybe I lost the tournament yesterday with silly bogeys. Second place is good for me and my Rankings though, so I will take good feelings into the rest of the season.”

Mark Tullo finished alongside Tadini in tied second thanks to an impressive three under par final round 69. The Chilean had a superb bogey-free back nine to thank as birdies at the 11th, 14th and 18th holes handed him his best finish of the season.

Chris Doak of Scotland and Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen and Morten Orum Madsen finished a shot further back on five under par, tied for fourth place.