Andrew McArthur held his nerve with a commanding display to claim the second European Challenge Tour title of his career at the inaugural D+D Real Slovakia Challenge.
The Scot fended off the challenge of several contenders with a flawless four-under-par final round of 68. That closing round, which included four birdies, meant the Scot carded just one bogey in four days over the Legend course at the stunning Penati Golf Resort, earning a wire-to-wire victory in the process.
McArthur, who becomes the first winner of a major men’s professional golf tournament in the eastern European nation, led the field by a shot heading into the final round and knew he would have a big job on his hands to close out the title, as perfect conditions yielded a flurry of low scores early on.
However, the 35-year-old - a member of Team Scottish Hydro again this year - threw down the gauntlet right from the off with consecutive birdies in the opening two holes, while his playing partner Sam Hutsby bogeyed the second to briefly widen the gap at the top to four shots.
McArthur carded seven pars to reach the turn in two-under and never let his guard down thereafter as two more birdies earned him a two-shot victory and a first Challenge Tour title since his Challenge de España triumph in 2008.
“It feels great,” said the Glaswegian afterwards. “It’s been a long time since the last one. I knew when I got in position that I could do it. I got a couple of wins on mini tours recently so I had no doubts I could play well under pressure, but you still have to do it.
“I’ve just been trying to find positives anywhere I can to try convince myself I’m not that bad." - Andrew McArthur
“I played rock solid and I'm very proud of the fact that I didn’t drop a shot all day.”
An emotional McArthur admitted he had doubted himself after a difficult start to the season which included six successive missed cuts but it was a stunning four-under 67 in the third round of the Alstom Open de France at Le Golf National which gave him the belief this week in Slovakia.
“I got a lot of confidence from that Friday in France,” he said. “I played a really good round of golf there after a five-over first round. That’s a very tough golf course so I though it can’t be a million miles away if I can get it round that course in that score.
“I’ve just been trying to find positives anywhere I can to try convince myself I’m not that bad. This win just changes everything.
“There were some dark moments at the start of this year. There was missed cut after missed cut and it’s not fun, expensive too.
“I’ve got a young family at home too, and they were trying to convince me that I'm still good enough but at times I haven’t believed it. It’s just good to come through the other side and everything’s good now.
“I’ll be aiming for a couple more wins now. The way I played there under pressure, not making mistakes and having confidence in my game, I’m so happy with how I performed.”
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