Andrea Pavan wins Czech Masters for 1st European Tour win

VYSOKY UJEZD, Czech Republic (AP) — Andrea Pavan produced a strong finish on the way to a 5-under 67 Sunday to win the Czech Masters for his first European Tour title.

Sharing the overnight lead with three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, the 29-year-old Italian was two strokes off the pace when he birdied the par-4 14th in the final round to reduce Harrington’s advantage to one shot. Pavan jumped into the lead with another birdie on the par-3 16th after the Irishman dropped a shot on No. 15.

“The putt on 16 was massive,” Pavan said. “It could have easily gone both ways, he was ahead of me most of the day but after I got ahead I stayed aggressive.”

Pavan then birdied No. 17 to close at 22-under 266 for a two-stroke victory over Harrington at the Albatross Golf Resort near Prague.

“It’s amazing, it’s massive,” Pavan said. “I’ve won four times on the Challenge Tour but it was a long time ago. I’ll enjoy this one because it’s really hard to get and I’ll just keep working on the stuff that seems to be working and enjoy the success.”

Harrington, who won the British Open in 2007 and 2008 and the PGA Championship in 2008, was chasing his first European Tour win since the 2016 Portugal Masters.

Gavin Green of Malaysia shot 69 for his second top-three finish, three shots behind Harrington while Lee Slattery (68) of England and Scott Jamieson (70) of Scotland were tied for fourth another two strokes back.

Ryder Cup hopefuls, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and England’s Eddie Pepperell, were tied for ninth, 10 shots back after carding 71s.

Pepperell needed a win to move into an automatic qualifying place for the Ryder Cup with one event left after this week. Pieters is hoping for a wild-card pick from captain Thomas Bjorn.