Phelan in the red as Walker takes Finnish Challenge
 Sam Walker

Sam Walker

Kevin Phelan had five birdies and a double bogey in a 69 to finish tied 38th in the Vierumӓki Finnish Challenge.

The Mount Juliet touring professional finished on five under par, 10 shots behind England’s Sam Walker, who kept his cool to clinch a two-shot victory for his first European Challenge Tour win for four years.

Phelan, who has missed just two cuts from 11 Challenge Tour starts,  picked up € 1,062 to lie 80th in the Road to Oman standings, some €10,000 outside the Top 45 who play the Grand Final in November. 

Walker started the day one shot ahead of playing partners Romain Langasque and Niklas Lemke but his four under par round of 68 around Vierumӓki Resort was too good for the rest as he finished on 15 under par.

The 38 year old held a one-shot lead coming down the 18th hole but a cool chip and putt for birdie made it a comfortable win ahead of Julien Guerrier, Scott Henry, Langasque and Darius van Driel.

Walker now climbs to 25th in the Road to Oman standings and is targeting another victory during the rest of the season to jump into the top 15 and earn a European Tour spot for next season.

“I played really well today,” he said. “I only missed one fairway and I put a lot of pressure onto the other boys because I putted really well again.

“I knew that if I just stayed in there I’d have a chance towards the end and that’s what happened – I kept hitting the fairways, kept hitting the greens, and then made a birdie on the last to seal it.

“I knew where Langasque was on the board, I knew he was playing with me, so there was nothing else I could do on 18 except hit a good golf shot.

“I went and looked at the green and saw that if I went past the flag I’d be putting back up the hill, so I attacked the ball and it came out lovely, just perfect.

“It’s great to be back in the winner’s circle, especially given that I’m old enough to be half these boys’ dad! It’s great to be back winning again though – I’ve put a lot of effort into training, had a lot of bad things go wrong, but the good things have now all come back to me so it’s great.

“It’s hard to use those memories from before because it’s a different golf course, but when the rain came down I did think I’m used to this, but other than that I just stayed calm and kept going.

“The top 15 is now within my sights, but the last five or six events are big events so if I get myself prepared for that then maybe I can win again and get on the European Tour again.”

Langasque’s runner-up finish – his third second place of his rookie season on Europe’s top developmental tour – took him to the top of the Road to Oman, now 5,000 points ahead of Jordan Smith.

The Frenchman gave himself plenty of opportunities but could not put enough pressure on his playing partner Walker until a birdie on 17 moved him within one shot, but the 21 year old was unable to force a play-off on the 18th hole.

Earlier, Scotland’s Henry – co-leader at the halfway point – fired a fine round of 64 to set the clubhouse target which France’s Guerrier and Dutchman van Driel matched to share second place.

Final scores

273 S Walker (Eng) 68 68 69 68,

275 R Langasque  (Fra) 67 72 67 69, S Henry  (Sco) 66 69 76 64, J Guerrier  (Fra) 69 70 68 68, D Van Driel  (Ned) 68 70 70 67,

276 B Hellgren  (Swe) 70 66 71 69,

277 A Björk (Swe) 70 69 71 67, A Pavan (Ita) 70 69 72 66, S Forsstrom (Swe) 72 65 70 70, S Hodgson (Eng) 72 70 69 66,

278 P Widegren  (Swe) 70 71 70 67, D Frittelli (RSA) 72 69 74 63, D Lloyd (RSA) 69 72 70 67, N Lemke (Swe) 67 69 70 72, S Fernandez  (Esp) 69 67 75 67,

279 J Cafourek (Cze) 76 64 70 69, E Blom (Swe) 70 70 70 69, R Saxton (Ned) 70 68 71 70, J Dean  (Eng) 69 70 71 69,

280 C Feldborg Nielsen (Swe) 69 72 71 68, M Orrin (Eng) 69 72 70 69, J Sarasti  (Esp) 67 70 70 73, D Perrier (Fra) 69 71 72 68, M Delpodio  (Ita) 70 69 69 72, T Detry  (Bel) 71 68 70 71,

281 T Bakker (Fin) 72 70 72 67, D Løkke (Den) 69 66 74 72, T Ferrer  (Esp) 68 69 73 71, M Wiegele  (Aut) 67 72 72 70,

282 M Kinhult (Swe) 71 68 70 73, M Schneider (Ger) 66 76 71 69, R Evans  (Eng) 71 69 73 69, R Santos  (Por) 70 69 72 71, T Pulkkanen  (Fin) 69 68 75 70, S Brown (Eng) 70 72 73 67, A Ahokas (Fin) 72 68 75 67, S Kim (USA) 70 72 72 68,

283 K Samooja (Fin) 70 68 76 69, K Hesbois  (Bel) 72 66 73 72, J Garcia Pinto (Esp) 72 70 73 68, P Shields (Sco) 70 71 75 67, J Doherty  (Sco) 73 69 71 70, W Harrold (Eng) 68 68 77 70, Kevin Phelan (Irl) 67 74 73 69, G Porteous (Eng) 71 70 76 66,

284 O Stark (Swe) 70 71 73 70, J Lando Casanova  (Fra) 65 71 79 69, K Eriksson (Swe) 72 69 72 71, C Koerbler  (Aut) 69 71 76 68, P Erofejeff (Fin) 67 74 72 71,

285 K Johannessen (Nor) 70 72 74 69, J Wrisdale (Eng) 70 69 72 74, O Farr (Wal) 72 70 75 68, A Karlsson  (Swe) 67 71 74 73, H Joannes  (Bel) 70 70 75 70, J Kahlos (am) (Fin) 71 70 75 69,

286 C Koepka (USA) 72 68 75 71, J Allan  (Eng) 69 73 72 72,

287 M Ortolani  (Ita) 71 69 75 72,

288 B Neil (Sco) 70 69 74 75, P Maddy (Eng) 71 71 76 70, C Bouniol (Fra) 68 73 75 72,

289 C Ford (Eng) 69 72 78 70, D Huizing (Ned) 71 68 71 79, R Roussel  (Fra) 72 70 77 70,

291 J Lara (Esp) 71 71 78 71,

297 P Relecom  (Bel) 72 70 82 73.

CUT

144    Brian Casey 72 72

145 Ruaidhri McGee  73 72