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Hanson wins for second time in three weeks

Hanson wins for second time in three weeks

July 1st, 2011

Chris Hanson has won on the PGA EuroPro Tour for the second time in three weeks after a play-off triumph took him to the title.

With 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell among a large crowd of more than 1,000 at Galgorm Castle in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, Hanson edged out Graeme Clark in the second hole of a play-off after the pair had finished level on -14.

The event, called The Galgorm Castle Northern Ireland Open (in association with Ulster Bank), was the fifth of the EuroPro Tour season.

Hanson had gone nearly five years since his last EuroPro Tour victory before he triumphed at Bovey Castle in June and he has now won another £10,000 to take his season total to £21,800 and move to the verge of a spot on next year’s Challenge Tour.

“I’m just over the moon and financially this relieves the pressure and I can just play and enjoy it for the rest of the year,” said Hanson, who enjoyed a perfect third round that included an eagle at the third and five birdies.

“I’m playing as good as I’ve played, my concentration is better than ever before and my focus is what’s making such a big difference. Winning at Bovey gave me a massive boost and I’m just really relaxed at the moment.

“It would mean everything to play on the Challenge Tour and it’s what I’ve worked hard for six years as pro for, with that aim in the back of my mind all of the time. I don’t think I would have to do anything different and I think I could compete quite easily as the EuroPro Tour is strong at the top.”

Clark, who birdied the last to force the play-off, moved down to second in the Order of Merit, but, like Hanson, has probably done enough to guarantee a spot in the top five of the money list to claim his place on the 2012 Challenge Tour, although he was not taking anything for granted.

“Hopefully I’ve done enough but I just have to keep going and my confidence is good at the moment,” said Clark. “Chris is in great form and played really well but if I keep playing the way I am then I can go out and win again.

“The buzz around the venue was incredible and it was just like being on a Tour event. I’ve never seen so many people watching one of these events and it was unbelievable how many people were there but it’s good for us to play in these situations.”

Steven Hackett (Cork) finished in third position on -10, while Billy Fowles (Wentworth), Michael McGeady and Michael Collins shared fourth spot on -8.

Ross Cameron had been leading at the end of the both of the opening two days and looked on course for his first victory when he eagled the second but his hopes ended with a run of five dropped shots between the tenth and 14th.

McDowell was impressed with the standard of golf on the EuroPro Tour and also paid tribute to the organisers of the EuroPro event at Galgorm.

“This event is a great training event for the stars of the future,” said McDowell.

“It’s very difficult to jump straight on to the European Tour. Guys have to toughen themselves up and learn their trade.

“It’s a great event for Galgorm Castle which is a course I played when I was a young boy. It’s a great location and they have great sponsors on board.”

The event was filmed and Matchroom Sport will produce a two-hour highlights package, which will be broadcast on Sky Sports on Wednesday, July 13.

The next competition on the EuroPro Tour will take place at the prestigious Fota Island from July 6 to 8.

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