Scotland's Craig Howie wins maiden Challenge Tour title

Craig Howie

Craig Howie produced a frontrunning masterclass to win his first Challenge Tour title at the Range Servant Challenge in Malmo.

The 26-year-old Scot took a three-shot lead into the final round at Hinton Golf Club and he never looked like being caught as he posted a six-under-par round 66 to reach 22-under – seven strokes clear of his nearest challenger, Denmark’s Marcus Helligkilde.

Howie, from Peebles Golf Club, opened with a birdie and a bogey in his first two holes before an eagle at the par-5 fourth settled the nerves and put further breathing space between himself and the chasing pack.

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Another birdie at the eighth saw him make the turn with a six-stroke lead, before adding a further three birdies on the back nine to see out victory and move to second on the Road to Mallorca Rankings.

“I’m absolutely buzzing,” said Howie. “I’ve worked really hard for this so it’s really satisfying.

“I don’t think any lead is comfortable until you finish it off. I just tried to play my own game and with a few holes to go I knew I had a lead of at least three or four shots, so I was just plodding my way round and making sure I wasn’t dropping any shots, and that was good enough.”

Howie credited a hot week with his putter for his maiden success on European golf’s second tier.

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“I probably putted better than most people did this week,” he said. “The putter was working really well, so that was probably the biggest reason why the margin was so big.

“I’ve been trending. My game has been really good but I’ve just not been able to string four rounds together. I played three really good rounds and one poor one every week in South Africa, so I knew it wasn’t far away.”

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