Carlos del Moral claims main title at Russian Challenge Cup
The first Russian Challenge Cup has reached its conclusion at the Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club near Moscow.
Victory went the way of Carlos del Moral, meaning the Spaniard now has a great chance of earning a place on the European Tour proper next season.
The Spaniard captured the title by a single stroke after a stunning closing round of 66 on Sunday. The Spaniard fell five strokes behind overnight leader Jamie McLeary of Scotland after bogeying the third hole, but blitzed through the field with seven birdies to take the title by one shot from the English duo of Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Ford, and Denmark's Thorbjørn Olesen.
Ford's round of 66 was the joint lowest of the day, one shot better than his young compatriot Fleetwood, who now has two runner-up finishes to his name in just three Challenge Tour appearances. The 19-year-old had a birdie chance from eight feet on the last hole to match Del Moral's 11 under par aggregate total, but his firmly-struck putt shaved the hole to leave Olesen – playing in the group behind – as the only man standing between the Spaniard and victory.
Olesen, who now also has two runner-up finishes to his name in his debut season, gave himself every opportunity to force a play-off with an approach to six feet on the 18th hole, but subsequently misread the line of his putt to hand the title to Del Moral.
For Del Moral it was only the second career victory came after his success at Texbond Open in 2006. He now moves to 19th place in the rankings.
“It's been the best week of my life. The golf course couldn't be in better condition or any prettier, and I play one of the best rounds of my life to win,” the happy champ said afterwards.