Robert Rock won his first championship at the BMW Italian Open while Darren Clarke finished best of the Irish tied for 46 with a score of eight-under.
Rock saw off an amazing final day push by Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen who shot a 62 to try and claim the prize but Rock’s solid 67 was enough to put him clear at the top by one stroke at 21-under, while Olesen tied for second with Gary Boyd of England.
Rock had a nervous moment on the 17th when he drove into the trees but recovered well to make sure he only needed a par to win the tournament on the par 5 18th hole.
The Englishman’s opening round score of 64 gave him a great early advantage and he was top of the leaderboard on day two after shooting a 68, having edged away from fellow Englishman Chris Wood, with Rock leading the way on 12-under, one ahead of Wood.
He held his nerve on day three repeating his score of the previous day with a 68 and hung on despite Olesen and Boyd breathing down his neck to win his first ever tour title after nine years of asking and taking part in 209 professional events.
Darren Clarke had a mixed tournament after carding a 71 on the opening day, and an impressive second round score of 66 left him on seven-under, just five shots of Robert Rock at the top of the leaderboard and still firmly in contention to challenge for a place in the last two days.
The Tyrone man birdied four holes in a row after play was interrupted due to an electrical storm and went into the third day with his eye on the prize.
Unfortunately for Clarke he then had a disaster of a third day, ending the round with a disappointing 75 after four bogeys and effectively ending his hopes of being in and around the top of the leaderboard on the final day.
Damien McGrane finished just one shot behind Clarke with an overall score of seven under; the Meath man’s form was more consistent than Clarke’s but less outstanding as he finished the tournament with a best score of 68 on day two and tied for 52nd by the end of the fourth day.
Paul McGinley couldn’t recover from an opening day score of 75 despite carding a 70 on day two as he missed the cut along with fellow Irishman Simon Thornton.
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