Duncan Stewart won’t need to rely on invitations any more on the Challenge Tour this season after landing his maiden win on the second-tier circuit with victory in the Challenge de Madrid. The 31-year-old, who hails from Grantown-on-Spey but is now based in Edinburgh, took route 66 to his breakthrough success, carding a four-under-par final-round effort to pip Englishman Ben Stow by a shot at Real Club de Golf La Herrería.
“I don’t think it will sink in for a couple of days, but it is a massive relief,” said Stewart of his welcome win, which was secured with an eight-under-par 272 total. “Not having full status this year I was on an invite this week and I can’t thank Bounce Sports (the Edinburgh-based management company that works closely with the Challenge Tour) enough for all their support.”
Stewart, who went to Jacksonville University at the same time as Russell Knox, had started the final round a shot behind Spaniard Pep Angles but surged ahead with five birdies in a flawless first 14 holes. “I was hoping the weather would be the same as yesterday as David Law and I know how to play in the wind, so it was right up our street,” added Stewart, who earned just over £23,000 for the biggest victory of his career. “I just wanted to get off to a good start and I made a birdie, so that set me up well. Then I just played absolutely fantastic – up there with the best I have ever played. I would have been disappointed if I didn’t manage to sneak it over the line.”
On the European Tour, Richie Ramsay finished joint sixth as Li Hao-tong signed off with a flawless 64 at Topwin Golf & Country Club to become the second successive home winner of the Volvo China Open, following in the footsteps of 2015 champion Wu Ashun.
In the amateur ranks, Scottish duo Jamie Savage and Grant Forrest secured top-10 finishes in the Lytham Trophy, which saw England’s Alfie Plant storm to a seven-shot win with a four-over 284 total.