Todd Clements posted a closing four under par round of 68 at the Irish Challenge to complete an emphatic six-stroke victory at The K Club.
The Englishman entered the final day with a five-shot advantage at the top of the leaderboard and he enhanced that by one to reach 19 under par and secure a commanding victory, with Northern Irishman Tom McKibbin finishing second on 13 under and picking up the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy.
The 25-year-old had the luxury of being able to drop two shots on the way in, but only after a sublime performance which included a hole-out eagle on the par four 14th hole, which at the time extended his lead to eight.
“It’s a surreal feeling really,” he said. “It’s been an unbelievable four days. I was pushed right to the wire, it doesn’t really look like it but it’s been a great week where everything clicked. I managed to get over the line and I’m absolutely delighted.
“It’s a big step in the right direction for me. I’ve been pushing for it for a while but the support my team have given me is amazing.
“My mum and dad, what they’ve actually put themselves out to do, hopefully I can have a strong end to the season and get my DP World Tour card, that’s something I’ve dreamed of as a kid and would be for them. What they’ve sacrificed for me is no end, so I can’t thank them enough.”
The winner of the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy will, from this year, receive an invite into the following year’s Horizon Irish Open and McKibbin is honoured to add his name to the trophy named after the former Ryder Cup player.
“I feel great, it was a good week and the start today was pretty special,” he said. “Six in a row was something very good.
“It’s an honour to win the trophy and get the invite to next year. It should be really good over on the other course at The K Club, but both courses here are spectacular.”
Ireland’s John Murphy finished third on 11 under par, while Englishman Harry Ellis was fourth on ten under. Last week's winner Alejandro del Rey was one of seven players sharing fifth place on nine under par, including Irish duo Gary Hurley and Conor Purcell.
Clements’ victory sees him climb 15 places from 19th to fourth on the Road to Mallorca Rankings with 91,933 points, as Sweden’s Jens Dantorp still occupies top spot after finishing in a tie for fifth at today’s Hero Open on the DP World Tour.
The Irish Challenge is set to return to The K Club again in 2024 and 2026.