• Win is his second on Challenge Tour and first for six years
• "I'm as happy as Larry," says delighted 34-year-old
JAMIE McLEARY | CHALLENGE TOUR
Jamie McLeary bridged a six-year gap to win the second Challenge Tour title of his career and, in doing so, gave his hopes of an immediate return to the European Tour a major shot in the arm.
McLeary, 34, carded a five-under-par 67 to win the KPMG Trophy by a shot at Les Bons Villers in Belgium. The Scot withstood a late charge by runner-up Taco Remkes to win the €25,600 first prize.
On a tight final day, 30 players were within three shots of the lead as the final group teed off. However, a superb front of 31 helped McLeary take a stranglehold on the event and propelled him into a four-shot lead.
Still, the chasing pack were not going down easy and, by the time he reached the 18th, McLeary’s lead had been cut to one. Requiring just a par for the title, the Edinburgh man duly delivered.
“I’m as happy as Larry,” he said. “I was actually more nervous at the start than at the finish. I hit a poor tee shot off the second and I got lucky. Normally when I’m nervous I don’t drive the ball well, and that happened today.
“This gets the monkey off my back as I’ve earned a sizeable chunk." - Jamie McLeary
“I three-putted the 14th to put myself back into the pack a bit but, apart from that, I played well.
“I knew there were a lot of people close, and three shots can go in one hole if you make a mistake. I tried not to look at the leaderboards, and once I was three-under through four I knew I’d given myself a bit of a cushion.”
McLeary lost his European Tour last year after finishing 152nd on the Race to Dubai but he now has his sights set on returning to the top tier.
“This gets the monkey off my back as I’ve earned a sizeable chunk – it takes the pressure off a bit,” he added. "I’ll be able to go into the lucrative events at the end of the season able to relax a bit. I’ll go to the Rolex Trophy now, which is one of my favourite events, and the Grand Final and all the China events. I’m very happy.”
McLeary’s win has pushed him up to seventh on the Challenge Tour rankings, with the top 15 at the end of the season earning a card for the European Tour next season.
Jamie McLeary :: Me, Myself & I
Get to know Jamie McLeary a little better with this exclusive video, filmed a couple of years ago at the Marriott Dalmahoy. Click here for more.