Jens Dantorp hailed the “greatest day” of his life after capturing his maiden Challenge Tour title at the Rolex Trophy, so keeping the trophy in Swedish hands following Kristoffer Broberg’s victory last year.
Inspired by a good luck text from his friend and compatriot on Saturday night, Dantorp returned to Golf de Genève on Sunday morning to complete the protracted final round and promptly overhauled the overnight leader José-Filipe Lima with a brace of birdies from the 14th hole.
After closing with a trio of pars to sign for a round of 70 and better by one the clubhouse target of 17 under par set by Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, Dantorp faced an anxious wait to see if Lima – playing in the group behind – could birdie the last to force a play-off.
Lima’s approach pitched close to the pin, but agonisingly rolled back down the slope to leave the Portuguese facing a 30-foot putt to take the elite 42-man tournament into extra time.
In the event, Lima left his birdie attempt short, and missed the subsequent par putt to slip back into a share of third place on 16 under par with Spaniard Jordi Garcia-Pinto, who closed with a best-of-the-day round of 66.
Dantorp receives a brand new Rolex watch and a cheque for €26,000, which moved the Swede 27 places up the Rankings to 11th and within sight of joining Broberg on The European Tour next year.
He said: “I was quite nervous out on the course today, but probably the most nervous moment was watching Jose’s putt on the last hole! This win just means so much to me – it’s probably the greatest day of my life. Hanging around in the clubhouse for seven hours for the rain to stop yesterday was torture. I’ve never really been in this position out here before, so a lot was going through my mind and when we eventually got out on the course, I wasn’t focused.
“But this morning, I felt much more relaxed. I told myself last night to keep calm and to stay in the moment, because I wanted the win so badly that I was trying too hard and getting too emotional. The birdies on 14 and 15 were the key, because I’d missed a couple of chances early on, so I was starting to think that maybe it wasn’t going to be my day. But those two settled me down, and in the end they made the difference.
“It feels great to follow Kristoffer in winning this tournament. He sent me a message last night to ask if I was winning, and even though I was one shot back I told him that I was going to win, because that is the attitude he has. I’m just glad I was right! I’ve won a couple of titles on the Nordic League, but nothing comes close to this.”
In contrast, Lima was left to rue a number of missed opportunities, but he could at least console himself with a cheque for €11,650 and a fourth top three finish of the season.
The 31 year old, who closes the gap to American Brooks Koepka at the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings to €27,581, said: “I played fantastically again today, didn’t miss a single shot but didn’t hole a single putt.
“I should have won easily, but if you don’t hole putts you’re not going to win tournaments. It’s incredibly frustrating, but that’s life. I couldn’t be happier with the way I’m playing from tee to green, so if I can keep it up and start holing a few putts, I’m sure I’m going to win one soon.”
The same applies to Otaegui, whose runner-up finish was his second of the season, having also missed out by a single stroke at Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge.
The Spaniard, who climbed from 24th to sixth place in the Rankings, said: “I’m obviously very happy with the week. I played very well from tee to green, just didn’t make enough putts. But I can’t really complain with a second place finish. There are some big events coming up, including Kazakhstan, so I feel like my game is coming together at just the right time.”