Evans has to settle for top 20

Ben Evans eventually had to settle for a top 20 finish in the Azerbaijan Golf Challenge Open. Picture courtesy Agathe Seron
Ben Evans eventually had to settle for a top 20 finish in the Azerbaijan Golf Challenge Open. Picture courtesy Agathe Seron

Golf ace Ben Evans made it back-to-back top 20 finishes on the European Challenge Tour at the weekend.

But the Staplecross-based professional’s tied 20th place in the Azerbaijan Golf Challenge Open might have been so much better having led at the halfway stage.

Evans was tied fourth after a six-under-par first round 66 on Thursday in which he made eight birdies, five of them on his outward nine, and two bogeys.

The 27-year-old followed that with a 67 on Friday to claim a one-stroke lead on 11-under-par at the National Azerbaijan Golf Club.

He dropped a shot at the first before producing a blistering back nine of 30 featuring two eagles and two birdies to surge to the head of the field.

Evans dropped back to tied 11th, however, after a third round 76 on Saturday containing five bogeys, three of them on the back nine, and a solitary birdie.

He got off to the ideal start in his final round yesterday (Sunday) with back-to-back birdies, but three bogeys and just one birdie thereafter meant he signed for a 72 and finished on seven-under-par.

Evans, of Rye and Sedlescombe Golf Clubs, moves up to 97th on the Challenge Tour Rankings going into the Norwegian Challenge, which starts on Thursday.