Peerless Pavan one step closer to Grand glory

11/1/2013 2:15:00 PM
Andrea Pavan  (Getty Images)
Andrea Pavan (Getty Images)
Andrea Pavan soared into a three shot lead at the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club thanks a six under par second round of 66, leaving him right on course to become the first multiple winner of the prestigious event.

The Italian entered the week as the man to catch in the race to be crowned European Challenge Tour Number One and, having shared the first round lead overnight at the splendid Al Badia Golf Club by InterContinental, his relentless charge to a season-ending double only gathered pace on day two. 

Pavan started as he meant to continue, with a birdie at the first, but after reaching the turn in one under, it was the back nine where his round caught fire in the scorching Dubai heat.

A birdie at the tenth kicked things off before he picked up another shot at the par five 13th and just as the likes of Shiv Kapur, Tyrrell Hatton and José-Filipe Lima began to close the gap on the 24 year old, he slammed it shut to finish with three consecutive birdies and move three clear on 12 under par.

Nobody has ever won the Challenge Tour’s finale twice and, having claimed the title on his home course in Italy in 2011, Pavan is relishing the opportunity to create history and better his second place finish in the Rankings two years ago.

“It would be fantastic to finish off the season in style,” he said. “But I have two rounds to go. I know what I need to do but I can’t control what the other guys do, and if someone goes low on the weekend then hats off to them. I just have to play my best, be right there towards the end, and finish it off.

“There is still a lot of golf to play, and even if someone else wins and I finish second I’ll still be the Number One so I’m in a great spot and I can’t complain. 

“If I keep playing like this it is just a matter of being patient and waiting for the birdies to come because you get a lot of opportunities. But you need to play smart out here because if you get too aggressive and miss a few shots, you get punished.”

Kapur, meanwhile, is in need of a strong finish this week if he is to claim one of the 15 European Tour cards on offer at the end of the finale and he is right on course for a return to The Race to Dubai next season after a six under 66 moved him to outright second on nine under par.

“I knew going into China and this week that I needed a good finish,” said the Indian, who won the 2013 Challenge Tour season opener in his home country. “The focus was on trying to win and if you try to win or contend that will take care of anything else.

“I don’t think the goals will change for the weekend, I want to put myself in a position where I can have a chance to win and that’s all I want to do and we’ll look at the money list at the end of that.”

Englishman Hatton and Lima of Portugal were one shot further back on eight under par, having both enjoyed strong finishes to their rounds to mount a title push.

Hatton finished with three birdies to card a five under par 67 while Lima posted an eagle at the par five last hole to sign for a six under 66.