Maiden win for Gros at Najeti OpenJune, 2015
25-year old lead the field from start to finish on the final day
Sébastien Gros recorded his first Challenge Tour victory and became the first French winner of the Najeti Open in 11 years as the he cruised to a six shot victory in Saint Omer.
The 25-year old led the field by seven shots heading into the final round and held his nerve to claim a convincing victory and the biggest margin of victory on the Challenge Tour this season.
“On paper, it seemed that it was easy but it was not,” said Gros.
“I am very emotional and I did not sleep well last night – I barely ate. I missed some shorts putts in the middle of the round and my caddie helped me to improve on my stroke.”
An opening hole birdie was enough for Gros to momentarily extended his lead to nine shots after his playing partners Terry Pilkidaris and Ryan Fox both carded bogeys.
“I had thoughts about winning during the round but honestly, I was sure after my first putt on the 17th. Believe me, it was only at this moment that I finally told myself that it not go wrong any more.
“You know there are no small or big titles, you have to learn to win. If your golf is in bad shape, even winning in a pro-am can help. But I am so happy even if I don’t think it has really sunk in yet. What I am sure of is that I deserved this win.”
A two-under par final round 69 from the Lyon-based player was enough to secure a convincing victory with a 14-under cumulative total.
With his victory coming on Father’s Day, Gros was quick to point out the part his family have played in his rise to the brink of European Tour qualification – he is now just €21,000 shy of the figure which clinched the last graduation spot in the Race to Oman Rankings last year, having previously racked up two top five finishes this season.
“I want to thank my caddie for the support this week as well as my coach (former European Tour player) Benoit Telleria.
“He never managed to play well here so I took a revenge for him.
“Finally, I want to thank my parents and my sister who came to support me this week.
“I did not manage to win for my mother on Mother’s Day in Czech Republic, but today is Father’s Day so this win is for them.”
Linard, meanwhile, feels like he is back on the right track, having struggled to build on the momentum of winning a first Challenge Tour title of his own last year, after an impressive five under par final round 66 earned him outright runner-up spot.
“I have tried to enjoy being on the golf course more and has worked this week,” said the 27 year old, who won the Czech Challenge last year. “I had some issues living up to my new status of tournament winner last year.
“My goal now is to win more tournaments and to play on The European Tour so this second place makes me feel I am on the right path.”
With this victory, Gros moves to second place in the Road to Oman Rankings.
Full leaderboard details can be found here.