Prague – Italy‘s Andrea Pavan chased down three-time major champion Padraig Harrington in a gripping final-round tussle to win his maiden European Tour title at the Czech Masters on Sunday.
The 29-year-old, ranked 253 in the world, made five birdies on the back nine to card a 67 and reach 22-under par for the tournament, edging out Ireland‘s Harrington by two shots.
“I can‘t believe it to be honest,” he said. “You know when you go against great players you have to stay aggressive and thats what I did. I want to enjoy this success because it‘s very difficult to achieve.”
Harrington led by two shots after a birdie at the par-three 13th, but a bogey two holes later, just his second of the week, proved costly as Pavan rolled in a string of late birdie putts to stretch clear.
He made a simple par on the final green to secure his maiden top-level victory, after four previous wins on the second-tier Challenge Tour.
The 46-year-old Harrington, who lost his PGA Tour card earlier this month, ran out of steam in the closing holes and has still only claimed one European Tour title since his last major crown at the 2008 PGA Championship.
Malaysian Gavin Green finished five strokes behind Pavan in third as he missed a series of putts and failed to get into contention.
European Ryder Cup hopefuls Thomas Pieters and Eddie Pepperell ended in a nine-way tie for ninth on 12-under.
Leading final-round scores from the European Tour‘s Czech Masters in Prague on Sunday (par 72/GBR and IRL unless stated):
266 – Andrea Pavan (ITA) 65-69-65-67
268 – Padraig Harrington 66-68-65-69
271 – Gavin Green (MAL) 64-68-70-69
273 – Lee Slattery 65-72-68-68, Scott Jamieson 67-68-68-70
274 – Tom Lewis 69-66-71-68
275 – Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 68-71-71-66, Jacques Kruyswijk (RSA) 70-68-69-68
276 – Julien Guerrier (FRA) 71-67-71-67, Pontus Widegren (SWE) 71-69-69-67, Jeff Winther (DEN) 65-68-75-68, Hunter Stewart (USA) 69-70-69-68, Matthias Schwab (AUT) 69-69-69-69, Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN) 68-72-67-69, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 64-70-71-71, Eddie Pepperell 66-71-68-71, Pachara Khongwatmai (THA) 69-67-68-72