WORCESTER’S Ollie Farr produced a stunning birdie at the final hole to claim a two-shot victory at the Turkish Airlines Challenge to claim his maiden European Challenge Tour win.
The 26-year-old, who writes a regular Tour Diary for your Worcester News, dedicated the triumph to his late grandfather, who passed away last week.
Following the bereavement, Farr, who is based at Worcester Golf and Country Club, considered pulling out of the tournament at the National Golf Club in the southern Turkish resort of Belek, but was persuaded to stay on and compete by his family.
Farr subsequently carded a two-under-par final round 70 to finish two shots clear of a packed field after a dramatic day in which the lead exchange hands several times.
The pristine parkland course once again provided a stern test for the players, but Farr produced the goods at crunch time to come from three shots back at the start of the day and finish top.
Despite a slow start, bogeying the first hole on the way to a level par front nine, the Boughton Park-based player came out fighting on the back nine and, while a birdie at the par three 11th was soon followed by a bogey at the 14th, he cancelled that out straight away with a four at the par five 15th.
Then came the performance of a true champion, as he placed a perfect drive down the 18th before firing a superb approach over the greenside water hazard to five feet, tapping in for a birdie and a first Challenge Tour title in just the fourth tournament of his rookie season.
“I'm ecstatic with the win,” said Farr, who won two of the last three events to win the satellite EuroPro Tour Order of Merit last year. “They were three of the best shots of my life. It was a fantastic wedge to five feet and it’s a putt you always want to win a tournament. It’s a great feeling.
“Down the last, I made double bogey in round three and it’s a funny tee shot. I hit driver the first two days and made birdie, hit driver on Saturday and ended up in a fairway bunker and on Sunday I thought I should hit three wood but I had to commit to it and I did.
“It’s only my fourth event of the year so it’s nice to keep this winning feeling going from last year. Things didn’t really happen for me in Kenya and Catalunya and then in Madeira I only got to play one round so this felt a bit like a season-opener for me.”
Farr’s victory was a most fitting tribute to his grandfather and he admitted the emotion had spurred him on in the final day.
“It’s been a tough week for my family,” said the former Wales international amateur, who climbed 150 places to fifth in the Challenge Tour Rankings. “We lost my grandfather Malcolm on Tuesday and I wanted to go home but my parents forced me to stay, so it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions.
“I was trying to do it for him and my family, to give them something to smile about, so it’s a good feeling. He has inspired me this week to just keep going and it just puts golf into perspective.
“It was the first tournament where I felt really comfortable and then my grandfather died so it was just a strange feeling. But it’s great to win and I just have to keep going now because there is a lot of golf to be played this season.”