Bjork claims maiden European Tour win in China

Golf News

Alexander Bjork became the latest Challenge Tour graduate to win on the European Tour as he held off Adrian Otaegui at Topwin Golf & Country Club

What happened at the Volvo China Open?

Sweden’s Alexander Bjork fired a final round 65 to win for the very first time on the European Tour at the Volvo China Open.

It was a congested final round at the Topwin Golf & Country Club, with Jordan Smith setting the clubhouse lead at 16-under.

But Bjork managed to birdie both 15 and 17 to post an 18-under total, with only Adrian Otaegui and Matt Wallace in the final group able to match him.

When Otaegui three-putted the 17th, only an eagle at the final hole, from either player, could take Bjork to a playoff.

Wallace crunched a long-iron straight down the pin, but it flew over the back, leaving a tricky chip which he left well short. Otaegui pulled his fairway metal, but he could only get up and down to finish a shot short of the Swede, who was waiting anxiously in front of the TV screen.

Talking point

Bjork’s win further underlines the strength of the European Tour’s feeder tour, the Challenge Tour.

The Swede won Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in 2016, and that has proved to be a perfect stepping stone as he has now gone on to win on the European Tour. This win was coming though – Bjork finished 3rd last week in Morocco, but he has shown signs of class ever since his performance at the Rolex Series HNA Open de France last year where he finished tied for 3rd.

Challenge Tour graduates going on to win at the highest level has started to become a theme. Last year Jordan Smith and Dylan Frittelli made the step up to win, but over the years we have seen the likes of Brooks Koepka, Byeong-hun An, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Bernd Wiesberger, Chris Paisley and Andrew Johnston all graduate and go on to compete at a world class level.

Might we see more American golfers, like Koepka, come over to Europe and try to pave out their career on the Challenge Tour? Julian Suri and Peter Uihlein have also showed that it’s a viable option.

Nevertheless, European golf certainly seems to be in a good place.

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