Shaun Webster, from Poole in Dorset, won his first Challenge Tour title when he edged out Scotland’s Graham Rankin at the first extra hole of sudden death to win the Beazer Homes Challenge Tour Championship at Bowood Golf and Country Club in Wiltshire. The pair had tied on six-under-par 282, Webster after a 69 while Rankin carded 72.
When they returned to the dog-leg 420-yard 18th, Rankin drove into a desperate lie in a fairway bunker and his recovery found the lake that skirts the left side. Although he hit the green with his second ball, two putts meant a double-bogey six while Webster, who found the green in regulation, knew that he could three-putt and still win.
In the event he took two and stepped up to collect the top prize of £14,619 which hoists him into sixth spot on the Order of Merit while Rankin, who won £9,740, leaps to 17th.
"This is a great thrill,” said Webster, the 1997 English champion. “I have now won at least once each year since I turned professional but this is the biggest yet. The win means a lot but I feel disappointed for Graham who had a terrible lie in the bunker.”
Webster, who began the day four strokes off the lead, found himself in the lead by halfway as most of those ahead of him, Rankin apart, started back-pedalling.
Overnight leaders, Thomas Norret from Denmark, and Hampshire-based Scott Watson finished with 78s for 287, and it was Lancashire’s John Hawksworth who set the target on five under with a brilliant 66 which included a back nine of 30, a record for the Bowood course. Worksop’s Mark Foster also returned 66 with seven birdies, which lifted him into a share of seventh spot on 284.
But Webster, who got to six under at the 10th then parred his way in, had a long and anxious wait to see if anyone would catch him. Only Rankin did, yet the big Scot might have snatched victory himself but his 25-foot birdie putt at the last crept agonisingly past the hole.
Sharing third place with Hawksworth were Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara who closed with 69, Christian Cevaer from France with 70, and England’s Simon Hurd, who returned 71.
But on a warm, sunny day, it was several hundred spectators who were treated to some superb golf on a majestic course who went home happy, but not quite as much as Webster.Final Results>