Filippo Celli (European Golf Association photo)
Filippo Celli ended the day where be began, on top of the leaderboard at the 2022 European Amateur Championship at Parador El Saler, Spain.
Celli crafted a 3-under 69 in his final round at Parador El Saler to earn a one-shot victory over Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen of Denmark, capping off the biggest win of the young Italian's career.
Playing in the final group with Spain's Javier Barcos Garbayo, the Italian started the day on -5 and with a one-shot lead. His advantage was quickly erased after making bogey on the first hole, slipping into a five-way tie for the lead on 4-under.
Celli quickly recovered, however, with birdies on the third, fifth, and sixth holes to regain the top spot on the leaderboard.
A near pitch-in would lead to a fourth birdie of the day on the eighth, opening up a two-stroke lead for the Italian.
Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen, playing in the fifth to last pairing, was Celli's closest challenger. The Dane made six birdies in a round of 67 (-5), setting -7 as the number to beat in the clubhouse.
Celli remained solid on the back-nine, parring holes 10 through 14 despite the wind picking up, firm greens, and tricky pin positions. The Italian then extended his advantage to two strokes with a birdie on 15, but quickly dropped the shot he gained on the following hole.
With Neergaard-Petersen in the clubhouse just one shot behind, the leader needed two pars on the closing holes to secure the European title.
Two greens in regulation and two pars sealed the victory for Celli. He becomes the fourth Italian player to lift the trophy, and the third in six years after Stefano Mazzoli in 2015 and Luca Cianchetti in 2016.
"I don't have too many words. I'm just feeling so happy. Really really happy" said Celli after his round. "I've been waiting to win a trophy like this all of my life, I don't have the words to describe my feelings right now."
"This morning I woke up and told myself, Filippo, enjoy the day. You are living for competition and to feel under pressure and I love to feel the pressure. So I just said have fun and see what happens. And this is what happened."
Celli's victory earns him a place in The 150th Open Championship, to be played in St. Andrews in under three weeks' time.
Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen took home the silver medal, one stroke behind Celli with a score of 7-under, while Scotland's Calum Scott took third place outright with a total of 6-under.
Spanish players, Javier Barcos Garbayo and reigning European Young Masters champion, Jorge Siyuan Hao, finished fourth and fifth respectively. The latter carded a 5-under-par 67 to earn his top-five finish.
The European Amateur Championship will return in 2023 for a 36th edition, at Pärnu Bay Golf Links in Estonia.
ABOUT THE European Amateur
The premier championship in
conducted by the European Golf
which is comprised of 38 member
hole stroke play format. After 54 holes the field is cut
to the leading 60 players and ties. The winner earns
a spot in the British Open.
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