ANTON Karlsson came from three shots behind to win his maiden European Challenge Tour title at the RAM Cape Town Open.
The Swede carded a three under par round of 69 for a 14-under par total in difficult scoring conditions at Royal Cape Golf Club.
That was enough to jump ahead of a packed leaderboard and record a one-shot victory over South African Garrick Higgo.
Karlsson maintained the momentum from a bogey-free eight-under par 64 in his third round.
The 26-year-old Upsala GC pro reeled off six birdies in seven holes from the seventh hole to move to the top of the leaderboard, before holding off a late charge from Higgo to secure his first victory on the satellite circuit.
“It was one of the toughest days of golf in my career with the conditions,” said Anton Karlsson. “It feels amazing to come out on top and to play some really good golf.
“My only aim this morning was to go out there and win. I was three shots back and I knew I was playing well after a 64 yesterday.
“It was really windy out there, so I knew I just had to be patient and do my thing.
“The opening holes were playing tough and I ended up in the wrong places,” said the Swede, who has lost his European Tour card twice having successfully come through Qualifying School in 2016 and 2018.
“But I really got it going after that, and from the sixth hole it was probably the best stretch of golf I’ve ever played,” added Karlsson.
“It got a bit exciting at the end. I hit every shot as I intended down the 18th hole, but then raced my putt by a little further than I would have liked.
“But it’s always nice to hole a putt to win.”
Higgo started the day six shots behind overnight leader Daniel van Tonder.
But the 20-year-old recorded the best result of his fledgling Challenge Tour career after a five-under par 67 on Sunday.
Higgo finished in second position on 13-under, three shots clear of Sussex’s Toby Tree, who made the most of his decision to forego a place in the field for the European Tour’s Vic Open.
Instead the former England amateur international travelled to familiar territory in South Africa, and signed off with a 71 to secure a top three result.
Hampshire’s former Amateur Champion Harry Ellis, Lincolnshire’s EuroPro Tour graduate Jordan Wrisdale, and Frenchman Damien Perrier, finished one shot further back in a tie for fourth.
Overnight leader van Tonder settled for seventh place, alongside Allen John and Gloucestershire’s EuroPro Tour graduate Mitch Waite on eight-under.
Karlsson, who had four top 10s in his debut season back in 2016, moved into second position on the Road to Mallorca Rankings with his maiden win.
The runner-up in the 2018 KPMG Trophy is just 85 points behind last week’s Limpopo Championship winner JC Ritchie, with Wilco Nienaber occupying third place after the opening two events.
The Challenge Tour now travels to Fancourt Golf Estate, George, for the Dimension Data Pro-Am, which gets under way from February 13-16. See the entry list here.
•For final results in the RAM Cape Town Open click here.