• Heartache for Harrington as Pavan prevails

    Andrea Pavan
    A first-time winner

    Andrea Pavan overcame three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington in an enthralling final-day battle to win his first European Tour title at the D+D Real Czech Masters.

    The duo entered round four at Albatross Golf Resort in a share for the lead but Harrington looked set for European Tour win No 16 when he opened up a three-shot lead at the turn.

    Pavan had other ideas, however, coming home in 31 to sign for a 67 and beat his Irish rival by two shots.

    The Italian’s 22-under-par total set a new record for the event, eclipsing Thomas Pieters’ winning score from 2015 by two strokes.

    Malaysia’s Gavin Green matched Harrington with a closing 69 to finish at 17 under, two shots clear of Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Englishman Lee Slattery.

    Pavan won the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2013 having finished second in 2011 and now has a European Tour title to add to his four on that circuit.

    He came through the Qualifying School in November and enters the winner’s circle in his 112th event, making it three Italian wins in 2018 after Francesco Molinari’s triumphs at the BMW PGA Championship and Open Championship.

    ‘It’s amazing, it’s massive,’ he said. ‘I’ve won four times on the Challenge Tour but it was a long time ago. I’ll enjoy this one because it’s really hard to get and I’ll just keep working on the stuff that seems to be working and enjoy the success.

    ‘I’m going back home tomorrow and we’re having a second baby, a little girl is coming on Wednesday. We’re really excited about that and I can’t wait to celebrate with my family.’

    Jacques Kruyswijk closed with a 68 to finish as the top Saffa in a share of seventh place. The big-hitting European Tour rookie was -4 through 10 after opening with a birdie and then recording three birdies in a row around the turn before his lone bogey at the 11th halted his move.

    Sunshine Tour regular JC Ritchie was left to rue a sloppy back nine as he finished T24. The young South African was -3 through 11 but doubled the 11th and dropped another at the 12th. A bogey at the penultimate hole undid his recovery act which included birdies at the 14th and 16th.

    Justin Walters and Christiaan Bezuidenhout finished a shot further back while Haydn Porteous ended his defence with a round of 71 and a tournament score of -8, good enough for a share of 36th place.

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