Alex Fitzpatrick is a winner on the European Challenge Tour for the first time after producing an outstanding final day charge to win by five strokes at the British Challenge presented by Modest! Golf Management at St. Mellion.
The Englishman, who finished tied 17th at The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club two weeks ago, registered a four under par round of 68 to go with rounds of 72-66-70 to reach 12 under par for the week and win by five shots ahead of Welshman Stuart Manley, Frenchman Tom Vaillant and fellow Englishman Ross McGowan who shared second.
The 24-year-old carded just four bogeys all week in testing conditions in Cornwall, and catapults into seventh place on the Road to Mallorca Rankings to close in on promotion to the DP World Tour.
Fitzpatrick was delighted to secure a maiden win on the Challenge Tour having come close on several occasions already in 2023.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been playing some decent golf and I’ve been putting in a lot of work. It’s just nice to see it finally pay off.
“Sunday is always tough. You know people are going to make a move and luckily I was the one that did. I couldn’t be happier.
“Over the past year on the Challenge Tour, I feel like I’ve put myself in contention quite a lot. I did it in India and in the Netherlands but not got it over the line. It’s been an amazing week and I’m very happy to get it done.”
Fitzpatrick started the day three strokes behind overnight leader Manley, but birdied two of his opening four holes to close the gap to one. After Manley bogeyed the sixth, Fitzpatrick took the outright lead for the first time on the following hole with a gain at the seventh.
The Englishman then added back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13 to move clear and despite a bogey on the 15th, he parred his way home to secure a resounding win on a course that he admits provided a tough challenge all week.
“I bogeyed the 18th on day three, but before that I’d gone 48 holes without a bogey, which around this course is pretty good,” he added. “It’s a tough golf course as it’s so tight off the tee. You’ve almost got to pick the widest part of the fairway to aim at, and then be sensible when approaching the greens and try to make your birdies from there.
“It was tense to be honest. I didn’t know where I was until I came off the 13th green where I holed a really good putt. At that point, I just had to know where I was. Our target at the start of the day was to get to 13 under par, and I was close enough.”
Scotsman Euan Walker, who won at St. Mellion in 2022, finished fifth on six under par alongside Italian Andrea Pavan and Englishman Ashley Chesters. Englishman Josh Hilleard and Hamish Brown from Denmark were one shot further back in eighth.
South African Casey Jarvis remains at the top of the Road to Mallorca Rankings on 1,131 points, with Frenchman Ugo Coussaud in second on 995. Manley’s second place finish this week sees him enter the top ten for the first time this season.
The Road to Mallorca now heads to Aberdeenshire for the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge supported by the R&A from 10-13 August.