Bekker holds on for share of 11th in Hopps Open de Provence

Oliver Bekker held on in the final round on Sunday in the Challenge Tour’s Hopps Open de Provence at Golf International de Pont Royal in Mallemort, France with a one-under-par 71 for a share of 11th place.

He had to battle for his score, with four birdies counterbalanced by three bogeys as he tried to make headway towards the top of the leaderboard. The win was eventually claimed by Alfie Plant of England after a three-way play-off with Germany’s Marcel Schneide and Austrian Lukas Nemecz. They all finished seven ahead of Bekker on 18-under in regulation.

Bekker started the day on nine-under, and he needed a fast start if he was to make any inroads in to the lead. But he had to be patient as he had seven birdies in a row to start with, and then he finally made a birdie on the eighth. Any momentum he might have gained was broken when he bogeyed the 10th, and then he had a run of birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie from the 12th to the 16th. At that point, it became prudent to keep things simple and he made par on the final two holes to reach 11-under for the tournament.

He finished one shot ahead of JC Ritchie, who had a great final round with a five-under-par 67 which included two bogeys. He climbed into a share of 15th at 10-under.

Hennie du Plessis closed with a one-over 73 to finish in a share of 20th on nine-under, and Jacques Blaauw had a level-par final round to stay at five-under for the tournament. He was in a share of 37th.

Bekker is projected to stay at fifth in the Challenge Tour rankings, and seems to be well on his way to gaining the European Tour card which is on offer to the top 15 at the end of the season. Ritchie should drop to 24th, Blaauw to 32nd and Du Plessis to 33rd which means they all have work to do in the remaining four tournaments ahead of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final on November 4.

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