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Rhys Enoch claims first Challenge Tour win in Slovakia

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Rhys Enoch ended his long wait for a European Challenge Tour title at the D+D REAL Slovakia Challenge after posting a four under par round of 68 on the final day at Penati Golf Resort.

The Welshman carded four consecutive sub-70 rounds to post an 18 under par total and secure a one-shot victory over New Zealand’s Josh Geary, who propelled himself into contention on day four with a six under par round of 66.

The win caps an unforgettable few weeks for the 31-year-old, who showcased his potential to perform on the biggest stage with a spectacular 66 in the second round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach last month and comes just six weeks before the birth of his first child.

Enoch started the day two shots behind overnight leader Darius van Driel but soon took control with four birdies over the opening nine holes and despite bad weather forcing a short delay late in his round, he held on to secure his first Challenge Tour title.

'’This has been a long time coming,’’ he said. ‘’There are so many emotions right now. I’m obviously just so happy, relieved and just excited about what this can mean going forward.

“To put yourself in these positions and not get it done, you wonder if you’re ever going to get over the finish line, but it just feels so great to have finally got the win.

‘’Everyone at home is behind me and wants me to see me do well, so it is exciting for me but also for all my family. If you’d have told me at the start of June what the next month or so would bring, I would have been absolutely over the moon with that.

“I’ve got a baby boy being born in six weeks, so life is about to change and I’m going to need to balance my golf and travel, but I’m just really excited for what the future can bring.’’

Geary, who agonisingly missed out on his European Tour card by a single shot at Qualifying School Final Stage last November, finished on 17 under par, one behind the winning total, with England’s Dale Whitnell and Dutchman Lars van Meijel two shots further back on 15 under.

Overnight leader van Driel opened with two consecutive birdies but was unable to replicate the form that had seen him occupy top spot over each of the first three rounds. He eventually signed for a four over par round of 76 to finish in a tie for eighth.

Antoine Rozner, from France, continues to top the Challenge Tour Rankings despite missing the cut in Slovakia, with Enoch moving up 61 places into seventh position.

The Challenge Tour now visits France for the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge from July 11-14.

Final scores:

270 R Enoch (Wal) 68 69 65 68,

271 J Geary (Nzl) 68 68 69 66,

273 L Van Meijel (Ned) 68 69 66 70, D Whitnell (Eng) 71 69 67 66,

275 J Sjöholm (Swe) 68 73 66 68, G Porteous (Eng) 74 65 67 69, R Roussel (Fra) 67 71 72 65,

276 D Van Driel (Ned) 64 69 67 76, I Cantero Gutierrez (Esp) 67 68 74 67,

277 S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) 69 67 68 73, N Von Dellingshausen (Ger) 68 67 72 70, J Senior (Eng) 66 70 71 70, S Tarrio Ben (Esp) 73 68 68 68, A Meronk (Pol) 72 68 70 67, J Carlsson (Swe) 71 65 73 68, B Easton (RSA) 68 69 72 68, R Højgaard (Den) 70 68 67 72,

278 S Matus (Cze) 69 70 69 70,

279 C Pigem (Esp) 70 68 70 71, T Tree (Eng) 71 70 68 70, C Koepka (USA) 69 67 68 75, N McCarthy (Eng) 71 70 68 70, J Cafourek (Cze) 72 70 71 66, S Fernandez (Esp) 67 68 71 73