Michael Hoey battled back from a bruising opening nine to land a 4th place finish at the Made in Denmark Challenge.
The Northern Irishman showed great resolve to forget about a front nine 40, flying home in 32 swipes with three birdies in his last four holes.
The experienced Hoey signed for a plus one 72, good enough for a share of 4th on eight-under-par. He picks up a cheque worth € 9,000 for his efforts and a much needed boost of confidence ahead of a crucial period in the season.
As for Ireland’s other contenders, Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy ended his tournament on a high note with a one-under 70 to close. McElroy finished his productive week in a tie for 29th on two-under-par.
Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell enjoyed a similarly productive finish. The Northern Irishman signing off for a two-under-par 69 that returned him to parity for the week and a share of 40th spot.
There was no denying this week’s winner as Joachim B. Hansen became the first Danish champion of the Made in Denmark Challenge presented by Ejner Hessel as he won by five shots to claim his second European Challenge Tour title of the season.
The 27-year-old held his nerve in-front of the home crowd at Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort to card a one under par round of 70 and become a two-time Challenge Tour winner and the new Road to Ras Al Khaimah leader.
The Dane began his final round three shots ahead of Finland’s Kalle Samooja and quickly extended his advantage to five after back-to-back birdies on the fourth and fifth holes, but his lead was cut to three on the sixth after Samooja birdied and he dropped a shot. However, the Fin made two further errors around the turn while Hansen maintained his composure to extend his lead to four shots.
On a tricky back nine last week’s SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts runner-up made back-to-back bogeys on the 13th and 14th to give Samooja hope with four holes to play.
However, Hansen had the experience of winning once already this season and it showed, as the 2018 Turkish Airlines Challenge champion holed two birdies on his closing four holes to race into a five shot lead.
After rolling in a five-foot par putt in-front of a joyous home crowd on the 18th, Hansen was left speechless as he wrote his name in the history books.
“It feels so good. It’s so hard to find the words. I’m so delighted and satisfied about this victory on home soil,” he said. “It’s just what I came here to do this week and to deliver the job feels so good.
“Winning on home soil with your family watching and then holding the Made in Denmark Challenge trophy – it’s what every Danish golfer wants to do.”
A third win on the Challenge Tour would guarantee the 27 year old automatic promotion to the European Tour. However, he is not getting carried away with the prospect just yet.
“It feels great. I had no expectations to be where I am now at the start of the year,” he said. “The results have kept on coming every week and it’s been unbelievable.
“I want to play on the European Tour as well this year, but I’m focused on the Challenge Tour and doing what I have to do out here to play where I want to next year.
“My only focus is getting as high as possible on the Rankings, but I’ll take another win if it comes.”
Victory in Farsø, Denmark sees Hansen take top spot on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah – 27,097 points ahead of second place Lorenzo Gagli. While Samooja moves from 12th to fifth to return to the top five after his runner-up finish.
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