20th February 2014 | Alps Tour Golf
Brown captures third Alps Tour crown in Egypt
England’s Steven Brown overtook the overnight leaders, Virto and Etchart, to win the Red Sea El Ain Bay Open by one shot thanks to solid flawless 66 6-under-par last round for -10 total.
The 26 year old player whose home club is Wentworth, is one of the 2013 Alps Tour graduates. He had two victories last year and one top 3 to finish at third place behind compatriot Jason Palmer and France’s Edouard Espana.
« I was relaxed playing here at the beginning of the week as I will play Challenge Tour this season. But today, when I saw I was only 3 behind, I started to feel a little pressure because I wanted to catch them up. Last time I won when I was not leading (France 2013) I finished my round more than 2 hours before the leaders. This time I was in the fourth group.
I did not want to know what was the score. On the last green, I could not avoid to see it but I am working with a psychologist since a few weeks and we decided I should stay focus to the things I can influence, my routine for example. I played really solid today and I holed good putts. A win is always nice even if Alps Tour is not my circuit anymore. It is a nice way to start a season. »
Brown was very efficient from tee to green today and his putter did a wonderful to reduce, step by step, the distance to the top of the leaderboard. Borja Virto and him were neck and neck almost all round as Virto dropped two shots on the fourth. Brown holed a precious last birdie on the 17th after brilliant bunker shot. A few minutes later, Virto dropped a shot on the 16th to finally gain two strokes on the last two holes and to finish -9.
« I am happy with this last putt, it was a great one. I missed a short one on the 16th so these two birdies on the last two holes were nice.
This is my second tournament as a pro, I had played Preisch Open in France last September. I went though the Qualifying Stage in La Cala and i am happy with this maiden result. It was nice to play with Borja, we chatted a little and i did not feel the pressure. I only became nervous on the 16th. »
France’s Clément Berardo is the third guy of the podium. Alain Alberti’s protege (Raphaël Jacquelin’s coach) is playing his second year on Alps Tour. He recorded two top 5 and one runner-up place in 2013. He admitted his swing was still in building last year but he feels ready now.
« This course is not stressful. It is is good chap but even if you miss a shot, you won’t think you are going to make double bogey. But the greens are different from one side of the main road than from the other. From 5th to 13th hole, greens are more like on a links, quit firms and they are receptive on the other part of the course.
I played solid today, I did not think about the result, only shot by shot. My regret is the bogey on the last hole, a 1000 euro putt (500, in fact as he would have been second tied with Virto). I had a great drive, a 94 meter wedge, I told myself -you did it a hundred time- and I miss the green on the left. But I am satisfied and the goal for this season is to be in the top 6 this summer to get the exemption from Qualifying Stage 1 of the European Tour. »
From Sokhna Golf Club