After a hard-fought battle though changing weather conditions, Hugo Santos from Portugal came out on top becoming the UniCredit 2012 Professional Championship of Europe Champion for the second consecutive time, taking home a winners cheque for 10,000€.
Carding an even-par 72 final round score, to give a total of ten-under-par (278), Santos ensured he remained steady, composed and strategic as he negotiated the final stages of the round.
A strong fight was made from all three tied-for-second place competitors, Lee Rooke from Wales, Frederic Cupillard of France, and Mikel Galdos from Spain, all finishing at nine-under-par (279) for the championship.
The early stages of play shook things up, when the leading group all matched up to sit at ten-under-par through 6 holes, along with Rooke, after which Cupillard and Galdos each dropped a shot to leave Santos and Rooke at the top.
Steady rounds from all three eventual runners-up kept them in the hunt, but it was Santos who had his fair share of drama on the back-nine, making bogeys on fourteen and fifteen, and the pressure mounted as he neared the end of the round.
“The difficult part is when you start feeling the pressure, it’s more difficult to keep control,” Santos said. “On 17 when I was playing my tee-shot it started raining pretty heavy, but to be honest I almost didn’t feel the rain because of the pressure. It was a very important moment and that was key.”
But it was eventually Santos that took advantage of the situation and lined himself up for a twenty-foot putt on the last to take the win. Level-headed as always, Santos rolled the putt in to become the UniCredit PGA Professional Champion of Europe for the second year running having won here at Pravets Golf Resort and Spa last year.
Santos said of successfully defending his title, “It felt more difficult this year – the trees are bigger, rough longer…but I’m really proud to represent our PGA. I had two or three moments like the second where I bogeyed but I recovered and it was enough!”
For more information on host venue Pravets Golf and Spa Resort, visit www.pravets-golfclub.com.