Tournament: Italian Challenge Open
Venue: Golf Nazionale, Viterbo, Italy
Hashtag: #ItalianChallenge

VITERBO, ITALY – JULY 03: Kristian Krogh Johannessen of Norway poses with Italian Challenge Open trophy after Day Four of the Italian Challenge Open at Golf Nazionale on July 3, 2022 in Viterbo, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Kristian Krogh Johannessen secured his maiden European Challenge Tour title at the Italian Challenge Open after defeating Denmark’s Oliver Hundebøll in a play-off at Golf Nazionale.

The Norwegian entered the final round two shots off the lead but posted a bogey-free four under par round of 67 to move alongside Hundebøll on 11 under par and force a play-off. Johannessen made par on the first extra hole to defeat Hundebøll, who made a double-bogey after a wayward tee shot.

Johannessen was delighted to pick up his first Challenge Tour title and believes a conservative strategy was key to keeping bogeys off the card in the fourth round.

 “It feels amazing,” he said. “I’m very pleased to get my first win on the Challenge Tour and get it done in a play-off.

“I tried to play sensibly today and not attack all the pins. I focused on hitting the middle of the greens because you could easily make bogeys and double-bogeys out there. I managed to keep my card clean today which proved to be so important.”

The 27-year-old remained composed in the play-off and believes this victory is a huge steppingstone to earning DP World Tour playing privileges in 2023.

“I hit a nice little draw off the tee on the play-off hole,” he said. “I saw Oliver hit his drive 100 metres right and then I knew I just needed to keep the ball in play.

“I’ve played well the last two seasons but haven’t been able to get my DP World Tour card. Now that I have a victory under my belt, I feel this could be the year for me.”

Italian Lorenzo Scalise carded the low round of the day, a seven under par round of 64, and picked up the trophy for the leading Italian in the field after he finished in a tie for second alongside Switzerland’s Benjamin Rusch on ten under par.

Germany’s Freddy Schott, Northern Irishman Tom McKibbin, Englishman Jamie Rutherford and Swedish duo Christopher Feldborg Nielsen and Joakim Wikstrom shared fifth place on nine under par.

England’s Nathan Kimsey, Spaniard Pedro Oriol and Swede Anton Karlsson finished in a tie for tenth on eight under par.

Victory in Italy means Johannessen catapults to fourth on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, while Hundebøll moves into second place on 97,236 points, 920 points off top spot.

The Road to Mallorca now heads to France for the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge from July 7-10, 2022.