Darius van Driel shot the lowest final 36 holes of the 2019 European Challenge Tour season to win the Rolex Trophy at Golf Club de Genève.
At the halfway stage, the Dutchman was seven strokes off the lead, but recorded rounds of 63-64, coming from four shots behind on the final day, to win his second Challenge Tour title in 12 months in Switzerland.
Van Driel, who won the Euram Bank Open last season, signed for an eight under par final round – the lowest finish by a winner on the Challenge Tour in 2019 – to claim a one-shot victory over Northern Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin.
The Dutchman began the final round aiming to chase down overnight leader Ricardo Santos and closed the gap on the Portuguese with a birdie on the fourth hole, as Santos made two bogeys in three holes.
It was van Driel’s birdie run around the turn that move him into contention, making four consecutive gains from the par three seventh to take a share of the lead. The 30-year-old continued his assault on the Geneva layout with back-to-back birdies from the 12th before holing out from the fairway for eagle at the par four 14th to take the lead.
With a four shot advantage over the field and four holes to play, van Driel stayed calm, even with a dropped shot at the 16th, to sign for a round of 64, confirming himself as the Rolex Trophy winner with a tap-in par at the 72nd hole.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “You have no idea how much this win means to me.
“This is huge for me. I came close to winning a couple of times this year but couldn’t finish it off. To pull off the win shows me that I can do it.
“I was struggling with the putter on the first two days, then I made a few putts yesterday and that got me rolling. I’m happy I continued that today.
“I holed my nine iron on 14 for eagle and that’s when I started to look at the leaderboard, which might have been the wrong thing to do.
“I played a little too carefully over the last few holes and I was happy to close it out in the end, but my lead was four shots at one point. In the end it came down to one shot, having two putts from six foot to win, which wasn’t what I had in mind after being four ahead.
“I still feel that my game hasn’t reached the levels I want it to, so there is still lots of room for improvement, but I really needed this win.”
Sharvin shot a final round of 64, finishing birdie-birdie, to claim second place, one stroke behind van Driel. While a group of four players finished two shots further back at 20 under par, including England’s Richard Bland, Calum Hill of Scotland, Dutchman Daan Huizing, and Santos, who recorded a disappointing final round of 71, one under par, to share third place.
With his win, van Driel jumps from 31st in the Challenge Tour Rankings to eighth, while Sharvin moves from ninth to sixth place.