Playing in relentless wind and rain, Henge shot three under par 67 to record the lowest score of the day and post a winning total of eight under par 272 and secure the first prize of €24,067 that takes him to seventh place on the European Challenge Tour Rankings.
The 29 year old had began the day in a tie for 14th place on the leaderboard, but his exceptional display of skill and bravery saw him finish one shot ahead of Englishman Lee Slattery and two clear of English trio Gary Clark, Marcus Higley and Oliver Wilson as well as Noway’s Jan Are Larsen to collect the fifth Challenge Tour victory of his career.
“It is hard for me to take in at the moment – what an unbelievable day,” said Henge, who also won an Omega watch for his lowest final round. “I am so happy right now that it is difficult to describe.
“I also feel a little bit of relief because I have been threatening big time over the last few weeks but have usually been let down by a poor final round, so to do what I did today is very special.
“This is also really important for me financially and in terms of the Challenge Tour Rankings. I have made a big jump into seventh place and now it is up to me to try and stay there until the end of the season.”
Henge’s 67 ranks among the best rounds of the year so far, his only bad shot being the first one he hit that cost him his only bogey of the day. After that, he displayed all the attributes of a true champion to pick up four birdies and 13 pars amidst conditions that can only be described as woeful.
The 29 year old believes that the only other time in his career where he came close to matching his final round performance was during the 2000 Formby Hall Challenge, when his third round 64 was recorded in wet and wild conditions and eventually proved the difference as he went on to take the title and finish that season at seventh on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
Now his aim for the rest of the season is clear – to remain in the top 15 of the Challenge Tour Rankings and secure a return to The European Tour.
“I think that has to be one of the best scores I have ever put together, considering how bad the conditions were,” he said. “The only other time I can remember playing so well in similar weather was the last time I won on the Challenge Tour at Formby Hall in 2000.
“That was a horrible day as well, and I managed to shoot a 64. But apart from that I don’t think there has been anything better than today. I just played really well and made some really important putts – especially the birdie from 25 feet on the 11th because at that point I was wondering if we would be able to finish our rounds it was raining so much.
“I’m really pleased at how well it has gone this week, and I feel like I am a far better player than I was in 2000 when I was seventh on the Rankings and got my European Tour Card.
“Since then I have taken a year out of the game but at the start of last season I came back with a new coach and it has just been a very steady progression. I finished second on the Nordic League and won my Challenge Tour Card for this season, and hopefully I can get back onto The European Tour this year, because I did not make the most of it when I was there in 2001"