Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Craig Howie takes huge step towards European Tour with maiden Challenge Tour victory

Craig Howie won in Sweden for his maiden Challenge Tour victory.
Craig Howie won in Sweden for his maiden Challenge Tour victory.

If Craig Howie had any lingering disappointment at being shut out of a Belfry return this week, he extinguished it by taking a major step toward the European Tour with his debut Challenge Tour victory in Sweden.

The 26-year-old from Peebles turned a three-shot lead after 54 holes into a dominating seven-shot victory to take the Range Servant Challenge by Hinton Golf in Sweden.

He’d hoped to return to the Belfry and the Betfred British Masters after recording his best-ever European Tour finish there last year in the UK Championship, closing with a final round 65.

One win and two other top tens in four events

However with this win and two other top tens in the first four tournaments of the Challenge Tour season, the former Scottish Boys champion is not going to ineligible for the big tour for long.

“I’m absolutely buzzing,” he said. “I’ve worked really hard for this so it’s really satisfying.

“I don’t think any lead is comfortable until you finish it off. I just tried to play my own game and with a few holes to go I knew I had a lead of at least three or four shots, so I was just plodding my way round and making sure I wasn’t dropping any shots, and that was good enough.

“Every day I tried to minimise mistakes, I think I only made two bogeys all week, which was really important. I probably putted better than most people did this week. The putter was working really well, so that was probably the biggest reason why the margin was so big.

“I’ve been trending. My game has been really good but I’ve just not been able to string four rounds together. I played three really good rounds and one poor one every week when the tour was in South Africa, so I knew it wasn’t far away.”

Lawrie’s support is crucial

The Scot is attached to compatriot and major winner Paul Lawrie’s management company Five Star and, after securing victory in Malmö, he paid tribute to the 1999 Open Champion’s influence.

“Paul’s been great,” he said. “When I first signed with his management company, he brought in a couple of sponsors that helped me play. I was able to play with a bit more freedom, which was huge.

“Just on the side, he’s always there to contact if I need to speak to him. He’s helped me with some short game stuff, which is pretty invaluable.

“I mean, you don’t get a nickname like Chippie if you’re not pretty handy around the greens! He’s been great, there’s been a lot of people who have helped and Paul is definitely one of them.”

Ferguson also in the top five

Another Scot, former Walker Cup player Ewen Ferguson, shared fourth place on 13-under-par.

South African Wilco Nienaber leads the Road to Mallorca Rankings following his Dimension Data Pro-Am victory, but Howie now moves second and with another South African Henric Sturehed, in third position.

The Road to Mallorca now remains in Sweden for a second week, with the Dormy Open taking place at Österåkers Golfklubb, near Stockholm, from Wednesday May 19 – Saturday May 22.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]