Dubai: India’s Shiv Kapur swiftly reclaimed his European Tour card with an emphatic four-stroke victory in the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final at the Al Badia Golf Club on Sunday.
The 32-year-old from New Delhi capped off an impressive week in Dubai by playing some steady golf in the final round to return a two-under 72 for a 16-under total of 272.
He will now join 14 other promising golfers from the Challenge Tour, including top ranked Andrea Pavan from Italy, in the 2014 European Tour.
Scotland’s Jamie McLeary and Portugal’s Jose Filipe-Lima were tied for second on 12-under 276 while Pavan, who led at the half-way stage of the event on Friday, tied for fourth place on 11-under 277 with Welshman Rhys Vies.
Kapur, who said he was delighted to bounce back into European’s golf’s main tour after losing his Tour card at the end of last season’s Race To Dubai, reflected on the career-changing four days of golf at the Al Badia course.
“I’m really pleased. It was a tough week and I had to battle away and I knew today was going to be hard. Wil [Besseling] made a charge with a couple of birdies early on but I just had to stick to my game plan to keep mistakes off my card,” he said.
“I’m very proud of myself to shoot a bogey-free round and once I did that the pressure was on the rest of the guys so I’m extremely happy.”
Kapur’s blemish-free round included birdies on the fifth and the 10th and 16 pars.
“I made it a little hard on myself this year not playing as many tournaments as some other players on the Challenge Tour but I backed myself and told myself that if I played well enough I would make it back on to The European Tour,” he added.
“Sometimes when you plan these things and they don’t work out it looks like a great plan so I’m pretty pleased with how it worked out. It would obviously have been nice to have less pressure coming into this week but there is no better feeling than when you win.
“I have had five or six professional wins but given the circumstances and everything leading up to the week it’s right up there with the best of them.
“I have spent seven years on The European Tour and I’ve wanted to get back there. It’s a great tour which is going from strength to strength and I cannot wait to get back. I’m really looking forward to the year.”
McLeary, who scraped into the Top 15 on the Ranking with his second-place effort was emphatic and said: “I’m delighted. To finish the way I did was nice. I knew it was going to be a tough day and I kind of knew the score I wanted to shoot and that’s what I was aiming for.
“The guys I was playing with [Andrea Pavan and Jose Filipe Lima] had already confirmed their European Tour cards so when they started out like a train I knew I needed to finish second or tied second.
“I was able to stay patient and I only made one bogey all day, which was on the 15th – the long par 3. But it was a hole I actually tried to bogey if that makes sense – I was just trying to keep it from going in the water! I’m delighted I’ve finally got on The European Tour after six or seven years. It’s been a long road but I got there.”
Lima, already guaranteed a European Tour card before the tournament began, matched McLeary’s closing 69 for his eighth top 10 of the season.
Pavan, who shot a final round 70 said: “I’m happy with how things turned out this year and I’m looking forward to next year.
“I know my game needs to step up a little bit more to be able to compete at the next level but it’s definitely getting there. Winning the Rankings is not easy and I’ve won twice this season and come close a couple of times as well and I’m happy to finish in the top five here in Dubai as well especially after having a couple of hiccups in the last two rounds.”