By Nick Totten for europeantour.com
Andrea Pavan completed a four stroke victory at the Open Blue Green Côtes d'Armor Bretagne despite a two over par final round to finish at 11 under and claim his second Challenge Tour title of the season.
The Italian started the final round six strokes clear of the chasing pack at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André, but began his final 18 holes with a double bogey at the par four opening hole to see his advantage shrink, as those behind him started well.
However the Bad Griesbach Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort winner steadied the ship with a couple of birdies in the middle of the front nine, and despite two more dropped shots coming home, he was able to finish comfortably ahead of the rest.
England’s Robert Dinwiddie finished at seven under par and in a tie for second place behind Pavan thanks to an impressive ten under par total for his final three rounds. He was alongside Welshman Rhys Davies who recorded his best finish of the season thanks to a closing score of 66 on Sunday.
With this win Pavan moves to second in the Challenge Tour Rankings, and the champion will now turn his attention to the number one spot this season, and to preparing for a second assault on The European Tour in 2014.
“I played lovely for the first three days,” explained Pavan. “Then this morning I had a decent warm up, but the wind was moving more and I didn’t hit the best tee shot off the first. I thought it would be OK, but I had to chip it out, and then my next one went in the bush, so eventually I was putting for six from 30 feet.
“Thankfully I rolled that putt in, which was important for me, as in that situation you just want to play as best you can, and the pace of play was quite slow today. We waited a lot, and it was hard to get in a rhythm with the wind and rain as well, so I struggled a little, but today was just about getting the job done and that’s what I did.
“It is difficult when you have a big lead, to just keep going on this golf course because it is so tricky. You go for one pin like I did yesterday and you can walk off with a triple, so I tried to play pretty safely. I rolled some nice putts towards the end and they didn’t drop, but I guess it doesn’t matter.
“It would be great to win the rankings, but from now on I pretty much have my (European Tour) card guaranteed for next year, and I think I just need to work on a few more things in my game. Luckily I have five more tournaments to get ready, but to win the rankings is another goal of mine as I’ve won twice this season, and to win for a third time would be a dream.”
Dinwiddie was also very pleased with his display this week on the French coast, having shown something like his best form the final three days, after a slow start on Thursday that saw him finish three over par.
“Today I played some really good golf, until the end when I hit a few poor iron shots,” said the Englishman. “It could have been a lot better, but I did make a few good saves at the end, so I’m pretty happy to finish where I have.
“It is getting to crunch time. I was sitting 20th (in the rankings) coming into this week, and I know I just need a couple more good finishes and I will secure my card, so today is a big step towards doing that.
“I’ve been in this position before, looking to earn my card, but this season I haven’t played well enough to warrant being back on Tour and I need to keep improving to get back and stay there. I don’t want to keep going up and down, so this year I have figured out a few things, as I’m just trying to get out there and contend instead of messing around at the bottom of the pack.”
Davies was also very happy with the form he has showed this week in a season where he has not always been able to show his best play, and he is excited ahead of a big couple of weeks.
He said: “The round went well today, it was probably the best I’ve played this week. I hit the ball a lot better today, as I struggled a bit the first two days with my long game, but my short game held me in it and I am very pleased. I hit a lot of good shots, holed some nice putts, and shot a good score.
“I’m playing the next two weeks, in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and it is good to have some form and momentum going into those big money events.”
Former Amateur Champion Alan Dunbar had started the day in second place, but he fell back into a tie for fourth at five under par thanks to a final round of 72. Alongside him were Matt Haines (66), Sam Hutsby (70) and leading Frenchman, Adrien Saddier (69).
While Jerome Lando-Casanova carded two eagles to shoot the round of the day, a five under par 65, and finish one shot further back in a tie for eighth alongside Australia’s Daniel Gaunt.