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Jean Bekirian jubilates over long-awaited second victory

Gradi Polish Open 2022

A final round without a bogey - and that at just 20 years of age. With a 66 on the final day of the Raiffeisen Pro Golf Tour St. Pölten 2022, the young Frenchman Jean Bekirian ends the arduous wait for his second title on the Pro Golf Tour. In a thrilling finish, he prevails over the Swiss Marco Iten (-12) with a score of 13 under par. Three German golfers follow in the other places.

by Frieder Pfeiffer

St. Pölten, Austria – When Jean Bekirian comes back from his last round at the Golf Club St. Pölten, happy about his victory at the Raiffeisen Pro Golf Tour St. Pölten 2022, he wants to say one thing above all: "Finally it worked. This second victory on the tour is so difficult." As a just 17-year-old, he had triumphed for the first time on the Pro Golf Tour in Egypt at the beginning of 2020, since then he has collected good results every now and then, but the victory didn't want to happen again - until today. "A title is something completely different from a top ten," Bekirian added. "You also need a bit of luck and the golf god for that."

Bekirian had that on this day in the battle with the Swiss Marco Iten. On the final holes, the tournament developed into a match play duel between the two top golfers, neither of whom had to record a bogey on the final twelve holes. In the end, Iten was one birdie short of a play-off at 13 under par. "I stayed calm today, which I think was decisive," said Bekirian. "Patience is so important in our sport anyway. Last year on the Challenge Tour it didn't go well, but I always stayed patient." On the eve of the final round in St. Pölten, Bekirian called his father and his coach and told them that it wouldn't be a drama if he didn't win tomorrow. There would be other chances. "But now it has worked out. I don't even know what to say. I am speechless."

Bekirian wants to remain patient and wait for the next chances. He knows he still has a lot of time. And there is still a lot to learn. "I recently moved to my coach in Biarritz. It's quite an adjustment not to live with my parents in Arles anymore," he says. Winning will make the new start a little easier. "If I play well, I'll be at the top. And someday the next victory will come," says Bekirian, who doesn't want to wait that long this time.

Leaderboard: All results at a glance

Runner-up Marco Iten already has three Pro Golf Tour victories to his name. The last one was a good year ago. He, too, will have to wait patiently for his chance. Behind the duo, the German Benedikt Thalmayr played himself into third place on the final day with a strong 64 (-10). Jannik de Bruyn also managed a positive finish with three birdies on the last four holes. The result: fourth place at eight under par, two strokes ahead of amateur Philipp Matlari in fifth position (-6).

The third Pro Golf Tour title is the result of a strong development that has already produced two second places this year. "I have been consistently developing in the right direction for a year now." Not much was missing and Hirmer would not have been competing in Poland this week, but at the BMW International Open, which was taking place at the same time. Despite the invitation, he decided to start at the Gradi Polish Open: "At the end of the day, the Pro Golf Tour is the tour I play on. I have invitations to other tours from time to time, but this is my tour and that's where my focus should be." As it turned out on Friday, that was the right decision.

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