Browne fifth in Argentine Open

Stephen Browne had to settle for a share of fifth place as Finland’s Antti Ahokas secured his maiden European Challenge Tour title in Argentina.

Dubliner Browne led the tournament after two days after opening with a pair of five-under par 65s.

But he slipped to a pair of 73s to share fifth place on four-under par with David Horsey and Edward Rush of England, and Scotland’s Eric Ramsay.
Gareth Maybin was tied 14th after a closing 70 with David Higgins tied (73) 29th and Colm Moriarty (74) sharing 43rd.

Ahokas, who beat Rory McIlroy in a play-off to win the 2006 Irish Amateur Open, hit a one over 71 to grab a three-shot win at the 103rd Abierto VISA de la Republica presentado por Peugeot at Hurlingham Golf Club in Buenos Aires.
His 10 under par aggregate score 270 was enough to fend off the dual home challenge of runner up Martin Monguzzi, who led the event after the first day, and Estanislao Goya in third place.
Goya finished a further shot behind Monguzzi on six under par, thereby failing to record back-to-back victories after his win at last week’s Abierto del Centro presentado por Personal in Cordoba.
But the 19 year old Argentine could console himself with the fact that he now heads England’s Iain Pyman at the top of the Challenge Tour Order of Merit after five events of the 2008 season.
Ahokas’ €21,149 winner’s cheque helped the Finn climb to fifth place in the Rankings. He said: “I can’t believe it just yet. My career as a pro is only starting, and to be honest I didn’t expect to win a tournament as big as this one.”
In stark contrast, Ahokas previous visit to Argentina in 2006, when he made his professional debut in the same tournament, had been a chastening experience for the young Finn.
“I played so poorly last time around that I even questioned my decision to turn pro,” he said. “But fortunately, golf always brings an opportunity for redemption.”
Ireland’s Stephen Browne, who led the tournament after two days following consecutive rounds of 65, headed a quartet of Brits in a tie for fifth on four under par: David Horsey and Edward Rush of England, and Scotland’s Eric Ramsay.
Final scores:
270 A Ahokas (Arg) 67 66 66 71
273 M Monguzzi (Arg) 64 68 70 71
274 E Goya (Arg) 69 65 70 70
275 R Gonzalez (Arg) 66 72 67 70
276 S Browne (Irl) 65 65 73 73; D Horsey (Eng) 6968 67 72; E Ramsay (Sco) 70 70 69 67; E Rush (Eng) 70 72 65 69
277 W Besseling (Ned) 68 69 70 70; R Gomez (Arg) 68 71 72 66; M Soffieti (Ita) 70 68 69 70; D Vancsik (Arg) 65 71 71 70; F Widmark (Swe) 67 73 66 71
278 G Maybin (NIR) 69 69 70 70; J Morrison (Eng) 69 68 69 72; A Rocha (Bra) 71 72 68 67; W Schauman (Swe) 71 69 68 70
280 R Coceres (Arg) 72 70 69 69; L Gagli (Ita) 71 69 71 69; I van Weerelt (Ned) 73 68 70 69