John Murphy and Robin Dawson banked four rounds in France as Alfie Plant came out on top in a three-way play-off to secure his first European Challenge Tour title at the Hopps Open de Provence.
Kinsale pro Murphy signed off with an even par 72 for a four-under tally and a tie for 42nd, moving up two places to 80th on the Road to Mallorca standings. Dawson was a shot further back at minus-three after carding a pair of weekend 73s for a three-under tally and a tie for 48th.
The Irish pair played second fiddle to an inspired Alfie Plant who started the day six shots behind overnight leader Lukas Nemecz before carding a fantastic five -nder par round of 67 to move to 17 under par alongside Nemecz and Germany’s Marcel Schneider at Golf International de Pont Royal.
Plant put himself out of position off the tee on the first play-off hole but recovered brilliantly to make birdie and defeat Nemecz and Schneider, who could only make par.
The 29-year-old was ecstatic to pick up the title in Provence after admitting he felt he was out of contention before he made the turn.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet to be honest but I’m over the moon. I felt like I was out of it on the first nine but just kept telling myself to keep playing my game, try to nick a few birdies here and there and you never know what can happen. I made two great birdies at 16 and 17 and also a great up and down at the last to get in the play-off. I can’t really believe it.”
The Englishman, participating in his eighth consecutive Challenge Tour event, felt mentally and physically drained before the week but believes the lack of expectation allowed him to flourish in France.
“To be honest with you, it’s probably the worst I’ve felt at the beginning of the week,” he said. “I felt exhausted because this is my eighth week on the bounce, and I was actually just resting in bed for a couple of days before this. My preparation was pretty easy, I just slept on Tuesday and Wednesday. I had no expectations coming into the week which definitely helped out there.”
Plant climbs 47 places to 23rd on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, quickly changing his ambitions for the rest of the year and putting him in contention to earn European Tour playing rights for the 2022 season.
“I’m hovering around 70th so I was worried about keeping my card for next year, but this has put me at ease now. I can start looking at the top end of the Rankings and see where I am at the end of the year.”
Chilean Hugo Leon carded a brilliant seven under par round of 65 to finish in solo fourth on 16 under, while Frenchman Ugo Coussaud and Sweden’s Jesper Kennegard were one shot further back.
The Road to Mallorca now visits Portugal, with the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos taking place from September 23-26.
- Full scoring HERE