Dubai: Shiv Kapur played an extremely steady and solid final round of two-under 70 without any bogeys to claim the season-ending Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final at the Al Badia Golf Club.
Kapur celebrated his Diwali in Dubai in a winning way with a total of 16-under 272 and a whopping four-shot margin over the second place duo Jose-Felipe Lima of Portugal (69) and Andrew McLeary of Scotland, both of whom carded 69 each to total 12-under 276.
It was not only Kapur's second Challenge Tour title of the year - he won the season-opener in February at Kensville Challenge, Ahmedabad - but it also helped him find his way back to the European Tour for 2014.
Kapur is the first Indian player to win more than once on Challenge Tour. McLeary squeezed in as the 15th player for the European Tour card for 2014.
Rhys Davies (69) and Andrea Pavan (70), who finished on top of the 2013 Challenge Tour rankings, were tied for fourth at 11-under 277.
Kapur, who began the week in 20th place on the Challenge Tour rankings vaulted to fourth following the winning cheque of Euros 56,650 which took his season's earning from Challenge Tour to just over Euro 118,323.
The top three were Andrea Pavan (Euros 147,811), Lima (Euros 123,697)and American Brooks Koepka (Euros 119,433). While Pavan played 23 events and Lima played 20, Koepka started in 10 and Kapur in just nine, which included two wins and a second place in the 25th year of Challenge Tour.
Kapur's win in Dubai was his first international win outside India since his breakthrough triumph in his rookie year at the Volvo Masters of Asia in Bangkok in 2005.
It was also Kapur’s third win in a season-ending Championship of any Tour - he did so on Asian tour in 2005, then the 2012 Shubhkamna Invitational on the Indian Tour and on Sunday it was the Dubai Festival City Challenge on the European Challenge Tour.
Kapur opened the day four shots in lead and at no stage did he allow anyone to come close than three shots. He birdied the fifth and 10th and parred the rest of the course. Kapur now heads to the 50th staging of the Hero Indian Open.
"This is a double delight," remarked Kapur. "Winning in Dubai was special and with it came the European Tour card. I left it till the very end, but it feels great that it came with a win. I was disappointed that I could not close the win in Foshan, but these last three weeks have given me a lot of confidence and belief in my ability."
Kapur, who is also eighth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, will play the Hero Indian Open on his home course, the Delhi Golf Club.
"That event is always special for me. I won the amateur title in it long back and as the National Open it is a matter of pride for all of us, Indians. Hero is my sponsor and they are also the sponsors of the Indian Open, so it becomes all the more special."
The year has been one of a lot of memories for Kapur. Right at the end of 2012, he won the Shubhkamna Champions event on Indian Tour to end a long drought of titles. On the very next start he won at Kensville on Challenge Tour.
Then came the qualification for the Open and that memorable front nine at Muirfield, where he led the field. Now the streak of three weeks, during which he was runner-up at Foshan City, China in Challenge Tour, followed by a 16th place at CIMB Classic, co-sanctioned by PGA and Asian Tour and now the win in Dubai.
Kapur's last win also came on the Challenge Tour in February and he also played the 2013 British Open, where he was in lead at the end of nine holes on the first day, when he burnt the course with six birdies in seven holes over the front nine. He ultimately finished tied 73rd on that occasion.