Solid finishes for Hurley and Murphy in Switzerland as heroic Hillier comes from behind to win

Adam McKendry

Gary Hurley (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

Two late bogeys cost Gary Hurley a top-15 finish at the Swiss Challenge at Golf Saint Apollinaire as he wasn’t able to capitalise on his Saturday momentum for a big finish.

After a superb 69 on day three which took him just outside the top-20 at three-under, the stage was set for the 29-year-old to produce a big final round to climb the leaderboard, and he did so with five birdies and two bogeys in his first 15 holes.

But bogeys at the 16th and 18th saw him tumble back down the standings as he concluded his week with a one-under 71, dropping him back into a share of 24th at four-under-par for the week.

Kinsale’s John Murphy would finish two shots and two places further back as he started hot with three birdies in his first three holes, but just one more birdie, two bogeys and a double-bogey after that led to a level-par 72 for him to end the week two-under-par in 28th.

The win went to the outstanding Daniel Hillier, the New Zealander securing his second Challenge Tour victory thanks to an incredible final round 64 that saw him jump seven places into top spot on the leaderboard.

The 24-year-old started the day four shots behind leader Jeong weon Ko, but ten birdies in his final round, five of which were in his last six holes, saw him post the clubhouse lead at 14-under-par.

Overnight leader Ko was unable to match him, posting three birdies and one bogey in his front nine before frustratingly parring his way back to the clubhouse for a 70 that saw him miss out yet again in second place at 12-under.

“That was pretty unbelievable,” beamed Hillier, who is up to 13th in the Road to Mallorca standings.

“I played really solid on the front nine and didn’t miss too many greens. I hit some of the best wedge shots I’ve hit in a long time and gave myself a lot of really good chances. I holed a couple of clutch putts to keep the momentum going and then managed to birdie five of my last six holes.

“It was a crazy day and I felt like I was in autopilot. I’ve been working on my short game a lot in the last couple of years and it’s something that has really let me down in the past. To be able to hole those putts under pressure today just shows I am doing some of the right things and now I just need to keep my head down and hope the wins keep coming.

“This is massive for me being towards the end of the season. I’ve moved inside the top 20 and now I’m in a strong position to get my DP World Tour card for next season. The jobs not done yet so I need to play as well as I can for the final few events.”


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