Thursday, July 30, 2009
By Joe Avento
Press Sports Writer
Davies, East Tennessee State's most successful golfer, won the SWALEC Wales Challenge in his home country on Sunday, beating Englishman James Morrison on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff.
The tournament was a European Challenge Tour event, similar to the Nationwide Tour in the United States.
Davies won slightly more than $34,000 for his efforts, moving him into the top 20 on the Challenge Tour's money list. The top 10 at the end of the year earn full status on the European Tour for next year. The next 35 get limited playing privileges. Three wins in a season on the Challenge Tour earn a player what is called a "battlefield promotion," immediate qualification to the European Tour.
An opening 77 left Davies nine shots back after the first day, but rounds of 68, 7 0 and 71 got him into the playoff. He won after Morrison pushed his approach shot into a water hazard.
Davies had to make a 10-foot putt on the final hole of regulation just to get into the playoff.
Davies' success was the first Welsh victory recorded on the Challenge Tour since Jamie Donaldson won the Guatemala Open in 2007 and indeed was the first Welsh player to win on home soil since Sion Bebb won this event in 2006.
He also became the third home nation player to win on the 2009 Challenge Tour, following Italy's Edoardo Molinari in the Piemonte Open in Turin, and France's Alexandre Kaleka in the Allianz EurOpen de Lyon in Monthieux two weeks ago.
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