McElroy 42nd as Edfors wins in Rome
 Johan Edfors. Picture: Getty Images

Johan Edfors. Picture: Getty Images

Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy picked up €1,275 as he tied for 42nd behind former European Tour winner Johan Edfors in the Terre dei Consoli Open in Italy.

Edfors became a European Challenge Tour winner for the fourth time as he took a three-shot victory at Terre dei Consoli Golf Club in Monterosi to climb to 33rd in the Road to Oman Rankings.

McElroy’s earnings do not count in the Road to Oman but after missing out at Stage One of Q-School, he’s gaining valuable experience.

A closing 70 saw him move up 11 spots to tied 42nd and he will be keen to reduce the bogey count in his next outing after making 13 birdies just north of Rome.

He does not start in next week’s Hainan Open in China, where Gary Hurley is set to start with Kevin Phelan as third reserve.

As for Edfors, the three-time European Tour winner had not been in the Challenge Tour winner’s circle for two years. But he kept his cool on the back nine on Sunday, making five birdies coming home to close with a three under par 69 and top the leaderboard on 13 under par.

Set to turn 41 on Monday, Edfors pulled one shot clear of overnight leader Victor Riu before an outstanding birdie on the 17th, coupled with Riu making bogey, gave him a three-shot advantage playing the last.

“I feel great, obviously,” said Edfors after being drenched in champagne by his watching compatriots. “It’s nice to be playing some decent golf again, it’s been a while. 

"I haven’t played much this year really, but I’ve been practising a lot and started hitting the ball well on the range, I just haven’t been able to bring it out on the course.

“This was the first week that I’ve been pretty steady off the tee and given myself a lot of good chances for birdie, and then my putting was really good as well.

“I was a little tentative in the beginning of the round and didn’t get off to a very good start there, and on the tenth hole I was two over but I saw I still had a chance, only two behind and no reason to hold back any more.

“I managed to hole a few putts, made three birdies in a row, another on 15, had a good chance on 16, and then made a nice one there on 17 so I had a three-shot cushion going down the last.

“Victor was only one behind and he put it in the middle of the green and I knew that if I hit a pitching wedge I could never put it too long, so it was a pretty aggressive club, and I drew it in to the flag, left myself an uphill putt, and then he three putted – it made playing 18 a lot easier!

“I think experience of winning helps. I tried to remember the last time I won a tournament two years ago in China and I had a similar sort of finish – I shot six under on the back after a poor front nine, so I’ve done it before and that makes it a little bit easier, and if you hole putts you get a little bit of momentum.

“This whole season has been really weird, so I don’t know what happens now – it’s not in my plans to go to China, but I should be in the Grand Final and also in Final Stage of Qualifying School, so that makes it a little bit easier.

“I’m supposed to be playing the British Masters this week, as a past champion, but I’ve also had some success in China in the past so that’s a bit tempting too – we’ll see.”

Edfors’ compatriot Alexander Bjӧrk shot the round of the day, a 66 that took him up to ten under par and into a share of second place alongside Spaniard Jordi Garcia Pinto.

Bogeys on his final two holes dropped Riu into a share of fourth on nine under par alongside Jack Doherty, Rhys Enoch, Julien Guerrier, José-Filipe Lima and Matt Wallace, while Nicolo Ravano was the leading Italian one shot further back in a tie for tenth place.

Final scores

275 J Edfors (Swe) 70 70 66 69,

278 J Garcia Pinto (Esp) 71 73 66 68, A Björk (Swe) 70 70 72 66,

279 J Doherty (Sco) 70 72 69 68, J Guerrier (Fra) 75 70 65 69, J Lima (Por) 67 69 72 71, R Enoch (Wal) 65 71 73 70, V Riu (Fra) 67 69 69 74, M Wallace (Eng) 68 72 69 70,

280 R Coles (Eng) 67 72 70 71, S Kim (USA) 70 73 69 68, N Ravano (Ita) 76 69 67 68, J Sjöholm (Swe) 71 69 67 73, R Langasque (Fra) 73 72 68 67,

281 J Makitalo (Fin) 70 71 68 72, R Santos (Por) 71 73 66 71, A Karlsson (Swe) 72 72 70 67, F Mruzek (Cze) 69 71 74 67, D Law (Sco) 69 73 69 70, J Girrbach (Sui) 72 69 71 69, B Poke (Den) 69 72 69 71, 

282 D Perrier (Fra) 72 71 70 69, H Joannes (Bel) 70 69 73 70, J Senior (Eng) 70 72 69 71, P Relecom (Bel) 72 69 73 68,

283 N Cullen (Aus) 74 69 69 71, K Samooja (Fin) 76 68 69 70, A Rai (Eng) 70 66 73 74, J Heath (Eng) 69 68 71 75, J Barnes (Eng) 73 70 70 70, A Bernadet (Fra) 71 70 72 70, 

284 P Shields (Sco) 69 75 67 73, T Remkes (Ned) 73 69 71 71, S Hodgson (Eng) 69 76 70 69, D Van Driel (Ned) 76 68 71 69, M Orrin (Eng) 68 72 72 72, M Kinhult (Swe) 74 71 72 67, P Widegren (Swe) 71 70 72 71,

285 C Ford (Eng) 69 73 72 71, D Stewart (Sco) 71 70 70 74, J Sarasti (Esp) 68 77 70 70,

286 B Hellgren (Swe) 75 70 70 71, C Blomstrand (Swe) 70 71 72 73, P Whiteford (Sco) 69 73 73 71, M Wiegele (Aut) 74 68 74 70, S Brown (Eng) 71 71 74 70, Dermot McElroy (Nir) 71 71 74 70, S Hutsby (Eng) 74 71 69 72, M Ovesen (Den) 68 75 73 70,

287 M Lafeber (Ned) 72 69 75 71, S Fernandez (Esp) 75 70 71 71, A Ahokas (Fin) 74 70 72 71, M Delpodio (Ita) 71 74 70 72, A Zemmer (Ita) 70 73 70 74, L Cianchetti (am) (Ita) 75 70 72 70,

288 M Ortolani (Ita) 69 72 73 74, M Søgaard (Den) 69 72 74 73, N Geyger (Chi) 73 71 71 73, M Schneider (Ger) 74 70 69 75, 

289 B Rusch (Sui) 72 70 76 71, S Pitoni (Ita) 76 69 72 72,

290 F Bergamaschi (Ita) 77 66 74 73, J Glennemo (Swe) 68 72 72 78,

291 A Velasco (Esp) 70 74 68 79, A Pavan (Ita) 69 74 76 72,

292 D Gaunt (Aus) 71 74 73 74, C Bouniol (Fra) 70 74 74 74,

294 S Henry (Sco) 71 74 74 75,

299 G Axell (Swe) 73 71 77 78.