Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell flew home with a bogey-free five-under-par round of 65 to claim a top-5 finish at the Cordon Golf Open on the Challenge Tour.
The Clandeboye professional came to life just after the turn having gone out in one under, as he went birdie, eagle, par, birdie from the 10th to soar thirteen places up the leaderboard into a tie for 4th.
He picks up a much needed cheque worth € 12,650 for his efforts and some valuable ranking points to go with it after closing out the tournament in fine style.
It was a positive day for the most part for Ireland’s other contenders too with Michael Hoey finishing next best as he looks to play his way to a European Tour card next season with six events to go this term.
Hoey finds himself outside the top-15 places in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah standings, currently in 26th after he closed out with a two-under-par 68 for a solid tied-11th finish.
While one shot further back, Gavin Moynihan continued his return to form; the Dubliner posting six birdies en route to a six-under total and a share of 16th position.
Having started the day in contention after a 66 on Saturday, Dermot McElroy suffered a fall down the Sunday leaderboard. The Ballymena star slumped to a four-over-par 74 that saw him drop 21 places down the table into a tie for 26th.
While Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin snuck inside the top-50 after closing with a two-under-par 68, good enough for a share of 47th on even par.
It was all about Jack Singh Brar, however as he secured his maiden European Challenge Tour victory with a sublime final round three-under 67 in France.
The Englishman began the day with a three-shot advantage over a trio of players in second place — fellow countryman Steven Tiley, Adri Arnaus of Spain and Welshman Stuart Manley.
Arnaus pulled to within two strokes of Singh Brar twice throughout the round, but that would be as close as any competitor came, and ultimately, the 21 year old sealed victory over the Spaniard by the same three-shot margin he started out with.
“It’s never easy playing with the lead so I guess I just had to pick my times to be aggressive,” he said. “It was quite an upbeat sort of round though, so I just had to manage myself and make really good decisions, and when I did get out of position, I got it up and down, which was key.”
The win moves the Southampton native from the 11th position on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah to a much more comfortable sixth, and will go a long way to securing his European Tour card for 2019 as one of the top 15 finishers in the season-long Rankings.
“At the start of the year I would have been happy to have been on the Challenge Tour for two years before making it to the European Tour,” he said. “Now, hopefully I’ve done it in one, so it’s a dream come true.”
The rise of Singh Brar has been meteoric. Following a season on the Alps Tour in 2017, he made an immediate impact in 2018 with a tied-second place finish at his first-ever Challenge Tour event, the Turkish Airlines Challenge.
Since bursting onto the scene in Turkey, he has been the model of consistency, and in 13 starts this year, has finished inside the top 15 an astounding eight times against only two missed cuts.
“The second place in Turkey made everything a lot easier,” he said. “I was happy with my position on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah coming into this week, because it’s been out of nowhere really this season, but obviously now, it’s a perfect position to be in.”
With several big events left, it might be easy for a player to take things too seriously, but when asked about his goals for the remainder of the season, Singh Brar maintained his trademark laid-back demeanour.
“I don’t really make goals, I just try to play my best and sort of see what happens, so I think I’ll just carry on doing that and whatever happens, happens” he said.
The 2018 Challenge Tour International Schedule will now travel across the Channel for the Bridgestone Challenge at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in Luton, Bedfordshire, England, which will be the 22nd tournament on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah.
Following Singh Brar’s win at the Cordon Golf Open, the pressure will only intensify for Challenge Tour players hoping to secure their 2019 European Tour card, as only six events remain before the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final begins on October 31st.