Pavan continues Italian job with Czech triumph

Mark McGowan

Andrea Pavan poses with the trophy at the D=D Real Czech Challenge (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

Andrea Pavan made it back-to-back titles for Italy on the European Challenge Tour as he came through a fierce final-round battle to win the D+D Real Czech Challenge, while Niall Kearney signed off with a closing 75 to complete a disappointing week for the Irish in Prague.

The Dubliner was the sole survivor after 36 holes, but a moving day 76 ended any hopes of a first tour victory and two double-bogeys at par-5s in Sunday’s final round ensured that there’d be no final-round surge.

A week after Matteo Manassero returned to the winner’s circle in Denmark, overnight leader Pavan carded a three-under-par 69 to finish at 18 under and one stroke ahead of South African Casey Jarvis.


The victory represents his fifth Challenge Tour title – first in almost a decade – and ends a near four-year wait since he won in Germany at the BMW International Open on the DP World Tour.
It is also his second professional win in the Czech Republic after he won the first of his two DP World Tour titles at the D+D Real Czech Masters in 2018.

“It is amazing, said Pavan, who later dedicated his triumph to the support of his wife during the presentation ceremony. t was a battle today, I didn’t have the best of starts. I knew a three-shot lead wasn’t much on this course.”

After beginning the day with a bogey, Pavan bounced back immediately with a birdie before he dropped three shots in two holes from the fourth as Jarvis drew level at 12 under.

But the 34-year-old responded with three birdies in his next four holes to return to his overnight mark of 15 under which was matched by Jarvis as he eagled the par-five ninth.

Marco Penge, playing in the group ahead, moved into contention with a fine run of scoring as he played the eight-hole stretch from the fifth to the 12th in eight under.

But the Englishman’s hopes of a maiden Challenge Tour title ended with three bogeys in his subsequent four holes.

Three consecutive birdies from the 11th helped Pavan into a one-shot lead, before a bogey by Jarvis at the par-five 17th ensured the Italian held a two-shot advantage on the 18th tee.

And that proved telling as Jarvis could only make a two-putt birdie after his tee shot just finished off the green while Pavan recorded a regulation par to secure victory, with Manassero among a group of fellow Italians watching greenside.

Adam Blomme, who played alongside Pavon and Jarvis, finished solo third after a five-under 67 helped the Swede to a 16 under par total with Penge three shots further back in fourth.

“I dug deep,” he added. “I reset after three putting three of the first five holes. I am just really pleased because it is hard to win. I was pretty calm out there. The last few holes you have to start to manage your emotions though. I am really happy to get over the line.”

Pavan climbs to fourth on the Road to Mallorca Rankings up from 23rd, while Jarvis remains in second after back-to-back runner-up finishes.

“The objective at the beginning of the year was to get back to the DP World Tour but not just getting back,” he added.

“For me it was also about getting my game back. I felt like I hit some really good shots today, especially after that start. Last week I struggled on Sunday, probably made a few mental mistakes on the back nine and this week my misses were a bit better.

“There are a lot of positives. A few years ago I was finishing pretty much dead last on the DP World Tour with no idea where my game was. I changed coach at the end of last year and things have started to get better.”

The Road to Mallorca continues with a visit to Spain this week for the Andalucía Challenge de Cádiz at Iberostar Real Golf Novo Sancti Petri.


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