Winners: Frenchman Mathieu Decottignies Lafon takes the mighty trophy of the 2021 overall champion in Adendorf, German Timo Vahlenkamp (right) celebrates his first tournament success as a professional at the Castanea Resort Championship - and also promotes to the European Challenge Tour 2022.
Play-off under a rainbow
Timo Vahlenkamp wins the Castanea Resort Championship and makes Mathieu Decottignies Lafon the overall champion
The decision was made on the sixth extra hole of the play-off: While German Timo Vahlenkamp wins the season final of the Pro Golf Tour 2021 with the Castanea Resort Championship in a play-off against Robert Foley from Switzerland, Mathieu Decottignies Lafon takes the overall victory of the 2021 season. The Frenchman therefore moves up to the 2022 Challenge Tour, as do Robert Foley, German Nick Bachem, Portuguese Tomas Gouveia and Timo Vahlenkamp, who are ranked 2 to 5 in the final Pro Golf Tour Order of Merit; they will receive category 13b on the Challenge Tour next year, while another five players will be classified in category 20. FINAL RESULTS
Adendorf/Germany – It could hardly be any closer, and certainly not more exciting: the sixth extra hole of a two-man play-off decided the winner of the Castanea Resort Championship and the Order of Merit for the 2021 season. When Timo Vahlenkamp sank his putt from seven metres for a birdie on hole 12, the 23-year-old from Berlin not only wrapped up his first tournament success on the Pro Golf Tour, but also improved to fifth place on the Pro Golf Tour Order of Merit thanks to the 7,800 Order of Merit points associated with it – equivalent to promotion to the 2022 European Challenge Tour. And by relegating Switzerland’s Robert Foley to second place in the play-off, Vahlenkamp also makes France’s Mathieu Decottignies Lafon the overall winner of the 2021 Pro Golf Tour.
“The course here in Adendorf was fantastic again this year! I like the layout and got on very well on the excellent greens. To win here and make it to the Challenge Tour in my first professional season with this victory is really incredible and it makes me very happy.” With a beaming face, Timo Vahlenkamp accepted the winner’s trophy of the Castanea Resort Championship 2021, relieved and also a little exhausted, as he had to put in a nerve-racking extra shift for his first title as a professional: after 54 holes, the Berliner-by-choice, who plays for GC Stolper Heide, shared first place with the Swiss Robert Foley; both recorded 11 under par after three rounds.
The par-71 course at the Castanea Golf Resort in Adendorf was the scene of a play-off, and there was one spectator who was following with particular interest: Mathieu Decottignies Lafon had secured 3rd place in the season final with 8 under par and the 3,120 ranking points that go with it – enough for the overall 2021 season title if Vahlenkamp wins, but only good enough for 2nd place if Foley triumphs, taking 1st place in the Order of Merit with the tournament victory. And the two opponents made it exciting: they share the first extra hole with a bogey, then play par four times each, while a double rainbow stretches across the course and the Castanea Resort clubhouse, and the winner is only decided after the sixth duel: after a perfect tee shot with the 3-wood on hole 12, a 400-metre par 4, Timo Vahlenkamp circled his ball with the pitching wedge seven metres to the flag and putted a birdie from there – Foley’s attempt from five metres just missed the edge of the hole.
The 7,800 Order of Merit points catapult Vahlenkamp from 21st place in the Pro Golf Tour Order of Merit to 5th place, just three months after his move from amateur to professional and directly on the 2022 Challenge Tour. “It was my goal to win here in Adendorf and it’s fantastic that it actually worked out,” said the Golf Team Germany player, who is coached by PGA golf professional Gregor Tilch.
“It is always a pleasure to be a guest at Castanea Resort. The long-standing partnership has developed very positively over the years, which is reflected in the quality of the course as well as the professional handling and support of the entire event. We are already looking forward to the 2022 tournament”, says Peter Zäh, Managing Director of the Pro Golf Tour. The Pro Golf Tour players have been competing on the 6,175-metre course at the Castanea Golf Resort every year since 2012 and the season final has been held there since 2015.
Victory in Adendorf was also firmly in Mathieu Decottignies Lafon’s sights, and with a round of 64 on the first day of the tournament, he was also well on his way to securing his third title of the season and immediate promotion to the Challenge Tour. But in the end, it was mainly the 459-metre long hole 10, which was played as a par 4 this year and where the Frenchman lost a total of four strokes in three rounds, that prevented this: “I never got to grips with the tee shot on this hole and my putting wasn’t exactly ideal this week either, which unfortunately meant I missed out on my goal of winning the tournament and secure my third trophy this season. However, I’m all the more delighted that it worked out with the overall victory after all, and I’m sure that I will also convince on the Challenge Tour this time.”
The 28-year-old had already made the step up in the 2018 season as the third-placed player overall on the Pro Golf Tour, but failed to find his feet there. “At that time, after the promotion, I changed my entire swing instead of working on little things and my short game. I certainly won’t make that mistake again. My long game is very stable now and when my putter is on fire I can also be among the frontrunners on the Challenge Tour.”
5 more to promote
This chance will be available next year to Decottignies Lafon, Robert Foley, Germany’s Nick Bachem, Portugal’s Tomas Gouveia and Timo Vahlenkamp, who will compete there in 2022 in category 13b, as well as five other players from the Pro Golf Tour: Swiss Marco Iten as well as the Germans Christian Bräunig, Jannik de Bruyn, Finn Fleer and Benedict Staben finished the 2021 season in 6th to 10th place in the Pro Golf Tour Order of Merit and therefore receive the right to tee off in category 20 of the Challenge Tour in the 2022 season.
On 12 and 13 October, the Pro Golf Tour’s Qualifying School for the 2022 season is still on the agenda, which will be held at two locations for the first time, at GC Verden and GC Trier in Germany. Both clubs are hosting the Pro Golf Tour for the first time, and 96 players will try to earn a category for 2022 at each event.