Sunday, September 21, 2014


                               Sam Hutsby with the trophy. Picture by courtesy of Getty Images(c)


Golfing history tells us that a big lead entering the final round of a tournament is not always a guarantee of success, but 25-year-old Sam Hutsby from Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire made sure there were no slip-ups on the final day at Zhailjau Golf Resort, en route to claiming a two-stroke maiden Challenge Tour victory at the Kazakhstan Open.
Seven birdies were countered by just two dropped shots during a tight tussle with compatriot Andrew Johnston, but the Englishman’s closing 67 moved him to 19 under par, which was good enough to claim the €72,000 top prize.
His first European Challenge Tour title moves Hutsby to third in the Rankings, and has guaranteed him of a starting berth in The Race to Dubai next season, having not had his card since the end of 2010 when he missed out on retaining it by one place.
Behind the leading twosome Byeong-hun An continued an exemplary season on the second tier in 2014 as the South Korean carded a 69 playing in the penultimate group to finish alone in third.
He was a shot clear of the experienced pair of Sweden’s Jocke Rask – who posted an albatross on the par five ninth in the final round – and 2010 Kazakhstan Open winner Alvaro Velasco, who both finished in a tie for fourth at 11 under.
As for Hutsby, who will be 26 on October 29, it was the culmination of some fine form this season, and he could barely keep the smile off his face as he realised just what he had achieved on an energy-sapping day in Almaty.
“I thought if I came out today and shot five under then I’d have probably won it by some margin,” said the 25 year old, who only made his flight by a few minutes to spare last Sunday, having been stuck in traffic en route to Heathrow.

 “A J put so much pressure on me though, which I thought was good, because it would have been a shame to see anyone struggle.
“No lead is ever big enough, especially with those last two holes and all the water, so one loose shot can rack up a big number. It was just an incredible back nine though, and I pulled off some really key shots, which surprised even myself. 

"My short game really kept me in it today as I got up and down when I needed to and holed out pretty well, and we were both going at each other on the back nine, it was just relentless.
”Funnily enough I actually won my first ever professional event in the UK on the Jamega Tour playing with A J, and now my first Tour win. So I was really pleased when I saw the draw playing with him and George Murray, two of the most likeable guys on Tour.

"That definitely helped as I was able to have a laugh with them in between shots, which kept me relaxed.
“A J has had a fantastic year and he just showed his class today, as he’s had an awesome weekend. His play in the final two rounds just showed what a fantastic competitor he is, and on the 18th green he couldn’t compliment me enough, which was really nice of him.
“It has been the longest weekend of my life though. I slept alright last night, but woke up at about 5am and it was all I could think about, and I wished I was teeing off at half seven. It was a long day and all a very new experience for me, but I’m just really pleased with how I handled myself.
“It is just so nice to get over that barrier and win my first title, and now I can relax and I can’t wait to get back out on The European Tour next year. It still hasn’t sunk in yet, so I might need a moment to myself, but I’m chuffed to bits.”
Thanks to his runner-up finish Andrew Johnston, who carded an impressive 65 in the final round, now holds a commanding lead at the top of the Rankings having overtaken long-time leader Moritz Lampert.
This week was just the latest in a long run of strong form this year, which has seen the man affectionately referred to as Beef claim two titles at both the Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts as well as at Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge, and he now has his sights set firmly on retaining that number one spot on the season-long list.
“It was good this week, even though I started a bit slow, but I have just had such a good weekend,” said the man from London.

 “I had to shoot a good score today and it all depended on how Sam played, but he was awesome today and I couldn’t get anywhere near him, not even close. Every time I made a birdie he countered and he was just too good.
“The goal is to finish top of the Rankings this year, so I just need to keep going and keep doing well, as I’ve worked really hard this year and it is paying off, so I just need to keep doing it.
“Sam was amazing today. I played with him on the second day when he shot nine under, but in many ways today was even better, he was awesome. That is one of the best rounds I’ve seen.”
On a good weekend for the English, Ben Evans shot a 69 on Sunday to finish in a tie for sixth at ten under par alongside Chile’s Mark Tullo, who carded the same score in the final round
Matthew Fitzpatrick continued to show his professional promise after a glittering amateur career, and his closing five under par 67 saw him record an eighth place finish, equalling his best on the Challenge Tour this year.
Cyril Bouniol (72) is getting married next Saturday, and he will tie the knot with a share of ninth under his belt in Kazakhstan. He finished eight better than par after four rounds alongside Italy's Matteo Delpodio (71), fellow Frenchman Edouard Espana (69), the English pair of Scott Fallon (68) and Callum Shinkwin, as well as Denmark's Lasse Jensen to round out the top ten in Central Asia.

par 288 (4x72)
269 S Hutsby  (Eng) 68 63 71 67
271 A Johnston (Eng) 72 70 65 64
276 B An (SKor) 69 67 71 69
277 J Rask (Swe) 71 69 69 68, A Velasco (Esp) 67 71 71 68
278 M Tullo (Chi) 68 75 66 69, B Evans  (Eng) 71 70 68 69
279 M Fitzpatrick  (Eng) 70 68 74 67
280 M Delpodio  (Ita) 68 72 69 71, E Espana (Fra) 69 71 71 69, C Bouniol (Fra) 73 69 66 72, C Shinkwin (Eng) 68 72 70 70, S Fallon (Eng) 68 73 71 68, L Jensen (Den) 73 69 68 70
281 D Vancsik (Arg) 68 74 70 69
282 P Widegren  (Swe) 68 72 72 70, J Lagergren (Swe) 69 74 70 69, S Brown (Eng) 70 71 69 72, J Guerrier  (Fra) 72 66 72 72, G Murray  (Sco) 67 71 69 75, G Cambis  (Fra) 72 69 69 72
283 J Roos (RSA) 73 70 69 71, M Pilkington (Wal) 70 71 72 70, H Joannes  (Bel) 75 68 68 72, D Ulrich (Sui) 67 73 72 71, J Huldahl (Den) 72 71 69 71, P Oriol (Esp) 68 71 72 72, T Linard (Fra) 72 70 69 72, J Stalter (Fra) 71 67 74 71
284 C Ford (Eng) 69 73 71 71, A Bernadet  (Fra) 65 72 72 75, W Booth  (Sco) 72 71 69 72,
285 P Dwyer (Eng) 70 70 73 72, L De Jager  (RSA) 74 68 71 72, R Davies (Wal) 68 71 71 75, C Paisley  (Eng) 72 70 71 72
286 N Johansson (Swe) 69 72 73 72, N Lemke (Swe) 71 72 70 73, M Lafeber (Ned) 72 71 73 70, C Brazillier  (Fra) 70 72 75 69, O Stark (Swe) 72 70 73 71, T Murray (Eng) 73 70 71 72
287 M Wiegele  (Aut) 71 71 75 70, A Björk (Swe) 71 70 73 73, M Lorenzo-Vera  (Fra) 69 70 75 73, W Harrold (Eng) 66 74 75 72,
288 A Marshall (Eng) 70 71 75 72, A Domingo (Esp) 71 71 71 75, O Wilson (Eng) 73 63 76 76, A Snobeck  (Fra) 72 71 74 71, T Sluiter  (Ned) 70 73 74 71
289 J Gonnet  (Fra) 72 69 76 72
290 S Tiley (Eng) 70 73 74 73, R McGowan  (Eng) 71 70 72 77,
291 D Stewart (Sco) 74 68 75 74, P Edberg (Swe) 72 71 79 69, B Åkesson (Swe) 73 70 74 74, G Woolgar (Eng) 73 70 71 77, J Garcia Del Moral (Esp) 72 71 75 73,
296 J Legarrea (Esp) 71 71 75 79, T Pilkadaris (Aus) 72 69 78 77




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