Brendan McCarroll paid tribute to pals Simon Ward and Brian Casey as well as his new life coach John Hession as he claimed his first Alps Tour win of the season in stifling heat in Madrid.
The Ballyliffin professional moved into the all-important top five in the Order of Merit — he's now third with the top five at the end of the season earning Challenge Tour promotion — when he came from two strokes behind Alvaro Salto with a closing 68, holing a crucial four footer on the last to win the Peugeot Open by one from the Spanish local, who had heaped on the pressure with two closing birdies.
McCarroll pocketed a cheque for €6,525 for his fourth Alps Tour win as he finished on 11 under par at Club de Campo, the course where Pádraig Harrington launched his career with that 1996 Peugeot Spanish Open.
And he attributed his success to his new mental coach.
“The key this week is that I am working with a life coach," McCarroll told the Alps Tour website. "He is different because he helped me on course and outside the course. The key is I tried to stay in the present, not thinking about the future or my next shot.
"I kept the same routine and managed to do that very well with putting this week. I used to hit some silly shots, but not any more.
"On the last hole I made a couple of tired swing because I struggled with the heat. On the 18th, I knew he was going to make it (from 25 feet. I was shaking for my four footer.”
Two behind Salto overnight, 29-year old McCarroll birdied the fourth and sixth to draw level and then holed a slick 25 footer at the seventh to remain level with the Spaniard who also birdied the hole.
He then picked up another shot at the par-three ninth to go out in 32 and edge one in front and while he bogeyed the 10th, Salto bogeyed the 11th to fall one behind again.
He birdied the 12th to go two ahead and picked up another shot at the 13th, where he made bogey to Salto's double bogey six to lead by four.
Flagging physically at the finish, he went to the 18th three in front after Salto birdied the 17th. But Salto closed with a birdie, dramatically holing from 25 feet for a 71 to force McCarroll to make a testing four footer for bogey to win.
“I did not drive well from 11th to 15th but I am thrilled with the way I finished," Salto said. "I was four shots behind Brendan and I finished just one. It was an exciting finish”
Headfort's Brian Casey closed with a 73 to take 36th spot on two over and a cheque for €486.
And while Simon Ward missed the cut, he was also there to support McCarroll on the final day.
“I would like to thank very my friends who came and supported me," McCarroll said. "I thank also Simon (Ward) and Brian (Casey) for travelling with me this week and thank you Alps Tour and Alessandro, your team is fantastique!”