Jonathan Yates continued to trend in the right direction after carding a superb blemish-free six-under par round of 65 to close out the Alps de Andalucia.
The Naas professional made his ascent up the leaderboard with four birdies and an eagle on Friday to reach 11-under par, three back of Spaniard Lucas Vacarisas who returned a closing 64 to win the event at 14-under.
It’s another encouraging result for Yates who has claimed two podium finishes on the Tour already this season. He banked €1,620 for his tied-sixth result and has moved inside the top-10 on this season’s Order of Merit, with the top-3 at season’s end earning their Challenge Tour card.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Damian Murphy signed off with a one-over par round of 72 for a two-under par tournament total and a tie for 41st.
The week belonged to Vacarisas who claimed the title at Club Zaudìn Golf in Sevilla with a total of 199 strokes (-14), one better than compatriots Jordi Garcia del Moral and Mario Galiano Aguilar who shared the second spot at 200 (-13).
It is a dream come true for Vacarisas, 22, as he finally grabs the first title which had been so elusive in the last few weeks. The young Spaniard – one of the three Mena Tour players who got an invite to Alps Tour tournaments thanks to the agreement sealed by the two organisations last December – had a top-10 in Austria at Gosser Open last August, was 2nd in France at Open de la Mirabelle d’Or two weeks ago, and now – thanks to a solid final round in 64 – has climbed the Alps Tour Order of Merit up to the 2nd spot, behind the leader Garcia del Moral.
“I’m very happy, first of all for the job I’ve done and for today’s round,” said Vacarisas.
“I knew I needed a good one in order to have a chance as anybody could win among the top ten. I’ve lost some focus between 10 and 12 with one bogey, but I reacted pretty soon. Of course I was a bit nervous waiting for the finish of Jordi and Mario, but I knew that the last three holes are very difficult on this course.”
In fact Garcia del Moral had been leading for most of the day while starting T3rd, as he sealed three birdies and one eagle in the front 9, and going as low as -16 on the 16th tee; then, two disastrous double bogeys (and one birdie on 17) broke his chance of winning for the second time in less than one month.
“This first win gives me a lot of confidence,” said Vacarisas, who wins a cheque for €5,800, “but for sure I will go on working more, this is just the start for me. There are two more tournaments in the Alps Tour season and I need to keep on scoring well in order to grab one of the three spots for the Challenge Tour.”
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