Jonathan Caldwell’s near perfect round of golf came up just short as Sam Bairstow’s stellar round took the Scottish Challenge title.
Caldwell mixed five birdies with one bogey in a round of 66 to leave him on 12-under par in what was another great week of golf from the Antrim man.
After the round, Caldwell told the media that he’s taking the positives heading into a home tournament next week.
“I played well, I gave myself a lot of chances, it looks like I’m going to come up a few short”, he said.
The Northern Irishman knows the Galgorm layout next week and he said yesterday that he’s looking forward to a few days off.
“I need a couple of days off before Galgorm. Thankfully I know it pretty well. I’ve been on the road for a few weeks and I’m pretty knackered so we’ll get it done tomorrow and take it easy for a few days”, he said.
Bairstow, playing in his first season as a professional, produced a bogey-free weekend to make sure of a memorable win that sees him climb into the top 20 on the Road to Mallorca Rankings for the first time. He is now well-placed to secure promotion to the DP World Tour which is something he admits he hadn’t considered at the beginning of the year.
“I didn’t really know the position I was in until I saw the scoreboard on the 16th,” he said. “From there it was a case of trying to focus on what I was doing.
“Going into this year I really didn’t know what to expect given it was my first year on the Challenge Tour. I was just thinking about keeping my card, never mind winning or getting into the top 20 in the Rankings and possible promotion to the DP World Tour.
“Yesterday I saw the forecast was going to be a bit windy and I just played really smart. I knew it wasn’t going to be as windy today but I thought if I did the same, I wouldn’t be too far off. There were plenty of chances out there, so it was all about keeping the mistakes off the card.”
Bairstow had to hold his nerve to secure his breakthrough win, with the par putt on the final hole one that he will remember most fondly. Playing the last with a two shot lead, playing partner Wattel would make him sweat after a fantastic approach to five feet. Bairstow meanwhile left himself a testing six foot putt for victory which he duly converted.
Bairstow’s win makes it back-to-back Challenge Tour wins for Sheffield golfers following Alex Fitzpatrick’s victory at the British Challenge presented by Modest! Golf Management.
Englishman Brandon Robinson Thompson, Northern Irishman Jonathan Caldwell and American Jordan Gumberg shared third place on 12 under par, while David Law finished as the top Scot in ninth on ten under par.
The top ten in the Road to Mallorca Rankings remain the same with South African Casey Jarvis keeping hold of his place as the Number One. Englishman Jamie Rutherford moves up three places to 17th, one place ahead of countryman Bairstow.
Of Ireland’s other players int he field Dermot McElroy shot a 4-under 67 to move into a tie for 38th place while Conor Purcell shot a brilliant five-under-par 66 to finish on four under and in a tie for 45th and Jonathan Yates finished on 6-over-par with Cormac Sharvin four shots worse off.