ROMAIN Langasque stormed to victory at the ISPS Handa Wales Open, overturning a five-stroke deficit to win his first European Tour title.
The Frenchman started the final day at The Celtic Manor Resort in a share of sixth place.
The 2015 Amateur Champion was five shots behind 54-hole co-leaders Sebastian Söderberg and Connor Syme, from Scotland.
But the deficit was cut to just one stroke after his second birdie of the day on the sixth hole.
Langasque continued to lurk one shot back after another gain on the ninth. And Romain drew level with a fourth birdie of the day on the par five 11th hole.
Successive birdies at the 15th and 16th holes saw the 25-year-old sign for a bogey-free 65 and an eight-under par total as a nervous wait followed.
Bogeys on the 14th and 16th holes dashed Syme’s hopes of a maiden European Tour victory.
Both he and Söderberg – who beat Rory McIlroy to the 2019 Omega European Masters title at Crans in September – found the water at the par five 18th.
That mistake ultimately ended the Swede’s chances at the 11th hour.
Great back nine earned the win
LANGASQUE, who has been tipped by many Tour pundits to make a break-through win for more than a year, was delighted with his final round.
Romain said: “I was playing really good since the start of the week.
“I was only focusing on doing my thing – that was the only objective I had on Monday with my coach.
“I’m so happy with the way I played the back nine. I played really, really good. I had so many birdie opportunities.
“The second shot on 16 and the first shot on 17 were my two best shots of the week.
“That shows that the work we have done the past few weeks has worked, and I’m pretty happy,” added Langasque.
“It was one of the first times I didn’t feel the pressure. I was focused on every shot.
“The first shot I felt pressure was the wedge on 18, because I was looking to be shorter and have a longer shot. But I flushed my four-iron.
“The wedge wasn’t easy because I wasn’t close and the two putts were under pressure. Before that I was cool and feeling really well on the course.
“The wait was long. But when you come back from five shots and you’re in a position like that it’s good.
“It’s long but it’s a good pressure and a good moment. I’m just enjoying my time now.”
•For final scores at the ISPS Handa Wales Open click here.
Välimäki and Syme earn US Open spots
LANGASQUE’S victory elevated him to 31st in the 2020 Race to Dubai Rankings.
It also earned him a place in next month’s US Open at Winged Foot, in New York, after he moved inside the top ten on the UK Swing Order of Merit.
The top 10 golfers not already exempt on that list, including Syme and runner-up Sami Välimäki, from Finland, have now secured their berths in the second Major of the COVID-19 interrupted season.
Langasque won The Amateur Championship five years ago at Carnoustie to earn his Open debut at St Andrews that summer.
He also made the cut when playing in the 2016 Augusta Masters and turned pro after his US Open debut at Oakmont, where Dustin Johnson claimed his first Major victory.
Three months later Gregory succeeded him as Amateur Champion by beating Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre in the final at Royal Porthcawl.