Martin Couvra became the seventh amateur in history to win on the European Challenge Tour after coming out on top in a play-off with Ireland’s Dermot McElroy at the Challenge de España.
The Frenchman posted a five under par final round of 65 at Club de Golf Playa Serena to move to 12-under alongside Italian Andrea Pavan and McElroy, who carded an eight-under par 62.
Couvra and McElroy parred the first extra hole with Pavan bowing out after making a bogey. The 20-year-old then prevailed on the second play-off hole after making a par, while McElroy could only make bogey.
“It’s just an amazing feeling right now,” said Couvra. “I tried to play my best golf and luckily it was enough, so I am very happy. I played very well today, and my putter was hot. I made a lot of birdies, and I still can’t believe I managed to win.
“I tried to not look at the scores but I saw the big leaderboards at some points. I am so emotional right now and that is why I play golf. In the play-off I just tried to concentrate on the simple things.”
Couvra, who became the first European to win all three of South Africa’s major amateur titles at the start of the season, has now secured Challenge Tour playing privileges for the rest of the season and beyond thanks to this career-changing win.
“This changes my whole career because now I have a full category on the Challenge Tour for next season and I have now climbed the Rankings considerably,” he said.
“I am going to turn professional just after the World Amateur Team Championships with France in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season. I still have three months left as an amateur, so this win is very special.
“I’m going to play next week in Portugal and just take each week when it comes.”
Frenchman Benjamin Hébert, Swede Kristoffer Broberg, Spain’s Lucas Vacarisas and Englishman Jamie Rutherford shared fourth place on 11 under par, while six players finished a shot further back in eighth including six-time Challenge Tour winner Ricardo Gouevia and 2019 Challenge Tour Number One Francesco Laporta.
Couvra climbs 126 places to 41st on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, while McElroy jumps 52 places into 56th. Pavan rises four places into sixth position, while South African Casey Jarvis remains at the top of the season-long standings
The Road to Mallorca now heads to Portugal for the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos from September 14-17, 2023.