Ruaidhri McGee and Gareth Shaw slipped down the leaderboard as German sensation Moritz Lampert earned instant promotion to the European Tour thanks to is third Challenge Tour title of the season in the Azerbaijan Golf Challenge Open.
McGee fell five spots to tied 28th on six under after a one under 71 as Shaw slipped seven places to 44th on three under following a 72.
But there were no such slip ups from Lampert, who started the final day in Quba five shots behind the overnight leader Benjamin Hebert, but blitzed through the field with a closing round of 66 to win by two strokes from Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera.
Remarkably, Lampert was three over par for his fist nine holes on the opening day at The National Azerbaijan Golf Club, but made an incredible 16 birdies and four eagles over his next 63 holes to finish the week on 16 under par.
The victory was Lampert’s third in the space of ten weeks, following wins in Austria and Spain, and confirmed the 22 year old’s status as one of the hottest young prospects in the game.
His winner’s cheque for €48,000 saw Lampert leapfrog England’s Andrew Johnston at the top of the Rankings, but it is in all probability the last tournament he will play on the Challenge Tour this term, with his next taste of competitive action likely to come at the inaugural Made in Denmark event on The European Tour in two weeks’ time.
Lampert, who is attached to St Leon-Rot, said: “It all feels a bit surreal at the moment. Everything’s happened so fast, so it’s a little bit difficult to take it in. My first win in Austria seems like only last week, and since then I’ve just been riding a wave.
“This win has definitely been the most unexpected. After nine holes on Thursday I would’ve been surprised to make the cut, let alone win the tournament. But I found something on my back nine, and after that my rhythm and confidence came back.
“This morning I thought I had a small chance of winning if I got off to a fast start, and I was three under through seven holes. Then when I birdied the 11th for the first time this week, I thought maybe it might be my day.
“I then bogeyed the 13th after a horrible shot, but after that I really went for it and luckily it went my way. I’m so happy and I can’t wait to get onto The European Tour; but before that I’m going to enjoy a holiday in Rome with my girlfriend. I guess after today I’ll be paying!”
Lampert tops the Challenge Tour Rankings with €133,835 from nine starts with Niall Kearney 82nd (8 starts) with €11,039, McGee 88th (9 starts) €10,025, Shaw 91st (10) €9,884 and Alan Dunbar 121st (9) €6,003.
Final Round Scores
272 M Lampert (Ger) 72 65 69 66,
274 M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 68 68 69 69,
275 A Johnston (Eng) 66 72 69 68, S Brown (Eng) 71 68 70 66,
276 A Björk (Swe) 68 67 69 72, A Marshall (Eng) 72 65 69 70,
277 E Espana (Fra) 65 71 74 67, D Gaunt (Eng) 70 68 69 70, B Hebert (Fra) 72 62 67 76, A Tadini (Ita) 70 71 69 67,
282 R McGee (Irl) 72 70 69 71
285 G Shaw (Nir) 72 71 70 72.