Robin Dawson should take plenty of heart from his visit to Italy despite a disappointing Sunday at the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil at Terre dei Consoli Golf Club.
The Tramore professional went into the weekend flying the flag solo for Ireland hoping to kick-on having only made three cuts on the Challenge Tour so far this season. However, even with the best of intentions, his week was somewhat spoiled by a disastrous start on Sunday where four bogeys and a double saw him make the turn in 41.
To the 23-year old’s credit, he managed to rescue it somewhat on the back-nine, posting two homeward birdies to grind out a five-over par 77. However, his Sunday stumble saw Dawson drop 29 places down the board and back to level par with the €1,035 he collected for the result scant consolation to the struggling pro.
It’s certainly been a bumpy transition thus far for one of the world’s leading amateur players last year but Dawson needs to stay true to himself and the golf game that saw him graduate to the pro ranks as one of Ireland’s hottest prospects in some time, and trust that hard work should prove enough to return him to the form that got him there in the first place.
A man who turned to the paid ranks at the same time as Dawson should prove an inspiration as Matthew Jordan claimed his first professional win at the event, beating Lorenzo Scalise in a play-off at Terre dei Consoli Golf Club.
Jordan and home favourite Scalise headed to the 150-yard par three 16th hole, having carded rounds of 66 and 65, respectively, to top the leaderboard at 17 under par, after overnight leader Antoine Rozner failed to capitalise on his three shot advantage.
The Englishman found the green with his tee shot, however, the Italian came up short in the water and missed the green with his third shot, leaving Jordan with two putts from 40 foot to clinch his debut European Challenge Tour title.
Having turned professional in September 2018, Jordan was thrilled to claim the victory, especially after making such a strong start to life on the Challenge Tour.
“It’s difficult to explain how I feel right now,” he said. “I just wanted to go out and play as well as I could. I got off to an unbelievable start and from then on I got myself into the tournament and into contention.
“I’ve had a couple of top tens previously but with winning, you never know when you’re actually going to do it until it happens. To finally win, especially at this event with a larger prize fund and more ranking points, is brilliant and I can’t really describe it.
“The drive off 17 was my only poor tee shot today but I putted well. I canned about 80 foot of putts in the first three holes. I started laughing on the third hole because it felt a bit ridiculous. On 17 I tried to play safe and then got up and down, hitting what felt like the perfect putt.”
Scalise, who also turned professional last September, claimed his best result in only his sixth Challenge Tour appearance with a runner-up spot, while Spain’s Carlos Pigem recorded a bogey free round of 65, seven under par, to finish a shot behind in third place.
Rozner, a two-time Challenge Tour winner already this season, was looking for his third triumph – and with it instant promotion to the European Tour – but ended the day two shots behind Jordan and Scalise. Oliver Farr of Wales and Swiss Raphaël de Sousa joined the Frenchman in a share of fourth place following their rounds of 69 and 68, respectively.
With his win, Jordan jumps up the Rankings from 24th to second, while Scalise jumps straight to 11th after collecting his first ranking points of the season.
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