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Whitehouse Puts on Presidential Performance to Win in Portugal

Tom Whitehouse 

England’s Tom Whitehouse secured his maiden European Challenge Tour victory at the Estoril Challenge Open Portugal Telecom and took a significant step towards retaining his place on The European Tour next season. The 24 year old from Birmigham, who won his Tour Card at the Qualifying School Finals last season, picked up €18,080 after recording a final round of one under par 70 to post a ten under 274 total and move to 19th place on the Challenge Tour Rankings with three events of the season remaining. He is now looking to break into the Challenge Tour’s top 15 in order to secure his Card for 2005.

Sweden’s Kalle Brink finished second on six under after equalling the course record of 65 at Oitavos Golf, that had been set just 24 hours earlier by England’s Richard Bland, with Fredrik Henge of Sweden and England’s Sam Little sharing third place on five under par 279.

Whitehouse was over the moon at the manner of his victory that made him the 17th first time winner of the 2004 Challenge Tour season.

Fredrik Henge
The 24 year old won emphatically and kept his nerve throughout his final 18 holes at the tricky Oitavos Golf – a venue he had finished second on during the 2003 EuroPro Tour season, which he went onto to win before winning his Card at the Qualifying School Finals.

“I’m ecstatic,” smiled Whitehouse after being presented with his trophy and winners cheque. “I might have looked relaxed out there, but I was quite nervous throughout the whole round today.

“I played conservatively and didn’t make too many mistakes, which was the mindset I was trying to play in all day. It’s nice to know that I can win at this level and this is definitely one of the best moments of my career so far.

Tom Whitehouse
“Winning my Card at the Qualifying School is up there as well, but when you win a tournament like this one by four shots from a really strong field then it gives you a special feeling.

“It’s nice to know that I can do it at this level and that I didn’t go out there today and crumble which has happened to a lot of players in the past. I never really gave the rest of the field a chance out there today and that is really pleasing for me.”

Next stop for Whitehouse – after celebrating his victory with his cousin and fellow Challenge Tour player Sam Walker – is Morocco for the Attijari Wafa – Tikidi Beach Moroccan Classic, which is the third last event of the 2004 Challenge Tour season, and where he is hoping to continue his winning run and break into that top 15 of the Challenge Tour Rankings.

“The top 15 has got to be the aim now hasn’t it? I think winning here can give me an edge over a lot of the players out here mentally. If I’m playing well they will know that I have just won and that I able to win, which is a big step.”

Sam Little
Brink, meanwhile, moves to 52nd on the Rankings with €21,986, while his fellow countryman Henge looks to have secured his European Tour Card for 2005 with his share of third place. The 29 year old JJB North West Challenge champion is now ninth on the Rankings with €56,670.

Little, who shared third place with Henge and who has also scored victory on the 2004 Challenge Tour with his win at the Texbond Open, moves to 14th on the Rankings and will endure a nervous three weeks as he tries to consolidate his position during the remaining three events on the 2004 Schedule.

ourtesy of http://www.europeantour.com 

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