Golf: Elliot Saltman fails to challenge

AFTER being tied for fifth following the opening round, Elliot Saltman finished well down the field in the Moroccan Classic on the Challenge Tour.

Following damaging middle rounds of 76 and 79, he finished with an improved 70 for a total of 291 – 16 shots behind the winner, American Ryan Baker, who became only the tenth player in history to triumph on his Challenge Tour debut.

A closing round of 68 for a winning 13-under par aggregate score saw Baker join the exclusive club, which includes such luminaries as Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, South African Trevor Immelman, Germany's Martin Kaymer and Italian Edoardo Molinari.

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Baker, 21, had started the day two shots off the lead held by Jesus Maria Arruti, but four birdies in an immaculate round of golf at Pullman Mazagan Royal Golf and Spa in El Jadida, Morocco, were good enough to take the title by two shots from the Spaniard, who had to settle for a share of second place alongside Argentine Julio Zapata.

Gavin Dear closed with two 70s for 286, while Jack Doherty finished just behind Saltman on 293 after a final-round 76.