José Manuel Carriles posted a final round of five under par 67 at PGA Catalunya Resort to secure his maiden Staysure Tour win on home soil at the European Tour Destinations Senior Classic.
The result marks the Spaniard’s first victory since his triumph at the 2003 Challenge Tour Grand Final and books his place at The Senior Open Presented by Rolex at Royal Lytham & St Annes from July 25-28.
Carriles, who came through Staysure Tour Qualifying School for the third time in January, started the final day one-shot behind overnight leader Chris Williams but ascended to the top of the leaderboard with his third birdie of the day at the 12th hole.
A fantastic fairway bunker shot to set up a birdie on the final hole sealed the deal for the 56-year-old, who hails from Pedreña in northern Spain, the birthplace of the late Seve Ballesteros. He finished the week on 13 under par, three shots clear of the South African, who signed for a one under par round of 71.
‘’When I was walking down the 18th with a two-shot lead I had so many thoughts,’’ he said. ‘’I was thinking about The Senior Open, about my family and all the hard work that goes into winning on the Tour. Even though on the final green I knew I had two putts to win it was nice to roll in the birdie putt for the victory.
‘’The course is great, really fantastic, and to win in Spain in front of my friends and local supporters is really special.
‘’To have to go back to Qualifying School and then come out and get my first win means a lot and hopefully, I will no longer need to worry about whether I have a place in the next tournament!’’
New Zealand’s Greg Turner, who played alongside Carriles and Williams in the final pair, recorded a three under par round of 69 to finish in a tie for third, alongside Argentinian Mauricio Molina and England’s David Shacklady, who chipped in on the last to sign for a final round of 69.
Englishman Philip Golding fired the lowest round of the day, a bogey-free round of six under par 66 to jump up the leaderboard into tied eighth alongside the 2017 European Tour Destinations Senior Classic champion Santiago Luna.
Carriles moves up 25 places in the Staysure Tour Rankings into seventh position, with José Coceres continuing to occupy the top spot.
The Staysure Tour now travels to Vorback, in Germany, for the WINSTONgolf Senior Open from July 19-21.