Javier Sainz secured a maiden European Challenge Tour title at the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge supported by The R&A after overcoming Switzerland’s Jeremy Freiburghaus in a play-off at Newmachar Golf Club.
The Spaniard entered the final round six shots behind Freiburghaus but posted a brilliant six under par bogey-free round of 65 to move to an 11 under par total alongside the Swiss. Both players parred the first play-off hole before Sainz birdied the second extra hole to defeat Freiburghaus, who could only manage par.
Englishman Tom Sloman finished in third place on ten under par, while Denmark’s Martin Simonsen finished fourth on eight under.
Sainz believes his conservative game plan was key to successfully navigating the tree-lined Aberdeenshire layout, however it was an aggressive approach that enabled him to prevail in the play-off.
“I feel amazing right now,” he said. “To hold my nerve and finish six under par today was special. My putter was hot and luckily I made an important putt to win the play-off.
“I like the courses narrow because it suits my game. I can’t hit it as far as some of the other guys so I have to be accurate. I was very good off the tee all week and I’m very happy with the way I finished.
“I was very nervous for the play-off but I decided to take driver on the second play-off hole. This was key because it meant I could attack the pin with my second shot and left myself a short putt for birdie.”
Germany’s Nick Bachem, Swede Jens Dantorp, Englishman Nathan Kimsey, Ireland’s Conor Purcell and Switzerland’s Benjamin Rusch shared fifth place on seven under par.
With his victory, Sainz goes straight onto the Road to Mallorca Rankings in eighth place with 44,177 points, while runner-up Freiburghaus climbs to fifth place on the Rankings, which are still led by South African JC Ritchie after his back-to-back victories earlier in the year.
The Road to Mallorca now heads to the Czech Republic for the D+D REAL Czech Challenge at Kunětická Hora from June 2-5.