Rasmus Højgaard continued the strong start to the season for former European Challenge Tour players by sealing an historic victory at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
Less than a year after making an impressive Challenge Tour debut at the Challenge de España, where he finished as joint runner-up behind Antoine Rozner, Højgaard would again do battle with Rozner, this time as they each sought their maiden European Tour victory in a thrilling three-way play-off that was rounded out by Italian Renato Paratore.
The Dane, who went birdie-birdie-eagle in the play-off, became the youngest Challenge Tour alumnus to win on the European Tour when he holed his 12-foot eagle putt on the third extra hole.
At 18 years and 271 days old, he is also the third-youngest European Tour winner having secured his maiden triumph faster than any Dane, with victory coming in just his fifth European Tour start.
Højgaard turned professional alongside his twin brother Nicolai earlier this year and continued to make an impression on the Challenge Tour after sharing second place in his first appearance in Spain. He recorded six further top ten finishes and ended his rookie professional campaign in the 21st position on the Road to Mallorca Rankings before becoming the first player born in the 2000s to secure a European Tour card at Qualifying School.
"To be on the European Tour so early is a dream come true and to be a winner now, it's incredible. I can't put it into words,” he said.
“I just kept telling myself to ‘believe in yourself.’ I was obviously nervous, playing in my first play-off, but I was in a situation where I had nothing to lose.”
Despite narrowly missing out on a maiden European Tour victory of his own, Antoine Rozner highlighted the strength of his game with a runner-up finish in just the second start in his rookie season.
The Frenchman won back-to-back Challenge Tour titles in 2019, at the Challenge de España and Prague Golf Challenge, wrapping-up his European Tour playing privileges with four additional top ten results to finish the season as Road to Mallorca Number Eight.
Fellow Class of 2019 member Connor Syme also continued his strong start to the 2020 season, following up an 11th place at the curtain-raising Alfred Dunhill Championship with a top ten finish in Mauritius.
Meanwhile Robin Sciot-Siegrist, who bounced back from the agony of finishing 16th on the 2019 Road to Mallorca Rankings — one spot outside the graduation places — by securing his card at Qualifying School, recorded back-to-back 65s over the weekend to collect his first-career top ten finish on the European Tour.