Joël Stalter overturned a four-stroke deficit to win his first European Tour title at the Euram Bank Open, finishing two strokes ahead of Richard Mansell amongst the Austrian Alps.
The Frenchman started the day chasing 54-hole leader Robin Sciot-Siegrist but moved ahead after a birdie on the tenth, his second of the day, after his compatriot carded a four over par front nine at Golf Club Adamstal.
A bogey on the 14th hole brought him level with Englishman Mansell, who was playing in the final group, but he responded immediately with a birdie on the 15th and a nervous wait followed as he parred his final three holes, setting the clubhouse target at 14 under par.
Mansell, making just his second European Tour start after debuting at last week’s Austrian Open, finished his round one over par after a bogey on the 16th hole, giving Stalter his first European Tour victory after battling teeming rain.
The victory was even sweeter for Stalter, as he shared his success with his fiancée Flora, his caddie for the week.
Sciot-Siegrist finished in third place alongside Sweden’s Christofer Blomstrand and Alexander Knappe of Germany, while another Frenchman, Julien Brun, shared sixth place with Garrick Higgo of South Africa and Joost Luiten of the Netherlands.
The European Tour moves to Close House, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North East of England, next week for the Betfred British Masters, the first tournament of the new six-event UK Swing as part of the reshaped 2020 Race to Dubai.
Joël Stalter: “Winning here today, I can’t really put it into words. I have been in this situation a few times and was never able to really push through. My girlfriend was on the bag this week. She has done an incredible job, she kept me going. She’s definitely part of my success today.
“It was a horrible day in terms of the conditions. It was tough for everyone. The course played probably 1000 yards longer, but my girlfriend had her smile on and just kept me going. We just had fun. I was playing really well and I just really enjoyed it, even though it was a tough day.
“I didn’t know I was leading until the 13th hole. Then I took my chance and really pushed through. I feel like today is a tribute to the last two years of getting slapped in the face a lot. I just kept pushing and believing.
“I felt nervous (over the last two holes) but I just tried to enjoy it as much as I could. It’s what we train for. All the tough days, this is what makes up for it. I just tried to stay in my game and do my best. Obviously it worked out well.”
Richard Mansell: “If you had asked me at the start of the week – would you take a second place finish on your own? Yes. But with four holes to play when you’ve got a one-footer to tie the lead, or if you could just birdie the last, it’s difficult to swallow, but I’ll be back again. I know I’ll have more chances.
“This week has given me a lot of confidence going forward. I’m happy with where my game’s at so we’ll see what happens next.
“I am good enough. I think I’ve always known that. I’ve just been waiting for a result. Now I’ve got that I just have that confidence, so I can go ahead and play freely now. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”