Peter Hanson defied cold, wet and windy conditions to give Sweden their first home winner of the SAS Masters for 10 years in Stockholm today.
The 30-year-old, whose only previous European Tour victory in 174 starts came in Spain three years ago, hung on in a nervous finish to lift the £209,056 first prize by one from compatriot Pelle Edberg and England’s Nick Dougherty.
For Dougherty it meant a runner-up finish in the event for the second year running, but there was real drama attached to his performance this time.
The 26-year-old Ryder Cup hopeful tweaked his back somehow during the night and in trying to warm up in the gym it got only worse.
“What a day. If my chiropractor had been here he might have told me to pull out, so I’m glad he wasn’t,” said Dougherty. “After all I’ve been through I was going to finish no matter what.”
He earned just short of £104,000 and although he stays 14th in the cup race he is now in much closer touch with just two events to go.
Hanson, meanwhile, moves up from 24th to 17th and will play in this week’s KLM Open in Holland rather than taking a break because he still has an outside chance to make the team.
“It feels great, of course,” he said. “It’s been a long wait for me.
“I started pretty well, but then struggled on the back nine the same as yesterday.”
From four clear with eight to go he double-bogeyed the 11th and bogeyed the 16th and 17th.
He remained one ahead moving to the tee at the last, however, and a superb iron to the heart of the green proved the decisive shot after Edberg had just failed to hole from long range.
German Martin Kaymer finished in joint 14th place after a closing 69 and is now little more than £200 behind 10th-placed Soren Hansen in the cup standings. Hansen took the week off, as did ninth-placed Oliver Wilson.
“It sounds weird, but I don’t feel the pressure,” said Kaymer. “I just see it as a challenge and it’s fun to be in this position trying to make others angry.
“It’s getting really tight, but I’m enjoying it.”
Chris Wood’s professional debut ended with him tied for 18th. The 20-year-old from Bristol, a brilliant fifth in The Open last month, had tied for the lead during his second round, but then suffered food poisoning and gradually fell back.
He also has invites for this week’s event in Holland, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles that follows and next month’s British Masters at The Belfry.
The goal is to earn around £150,000 to avoid a trip to the dreaded qualifying school at the end of the season.
Joint fourth were Scot Gary Orr and English pair Sam Walker and Paul Broadhurst.