England’s Stuart Davis and Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland narrowly missed out on the TIM Peru Open – finishing one stroke behind eventual winner Brad Sutterfield of the USA at Los Incas Golf Club in Lima.
The European pair pushed Sutterfield all the way for the €20,074 top prize, but were beaten by one stroke as all three players carded final rounds of three under par 69. That gave Sutterfield a 12 under par aggregate of 276 – one stroke better off than either Davis or Hoey.
That was good enough to secure a maiden Challenge Tour victory for Sutterfield, who admitted that he was struggling to hang on as Davis and Hoey attempted to come back at him.
“On the 18th I hit my first putt and thought it was in, then hit my second and thought that was in, and when I tapped in my third I thought I might have won but I really was not sure,” said Sutterfield.
The first fourteen holes gave little indication of the drama to come, with the tough closing holes at Los Incas Country Club notoriously difficult to play. Sutterfield, the overnight leader, extended his grip on the title with a four under par outward nine and when he birdied the tenth he led by three from Hoey, his nearest rival. Davis would enter the picture later.
"For 14 holes I was in complete control,” said Sutterfield. “Then on the 15th I misread a putt and took three putts on that green. On the 16th I made a bad mistake, short-sided myself into the par five and without knowing that there was sand under the lie, chunked that chip then missed a short putt and made my second bogey."
Early on the back nine, Sutterfield’s missed birdie chances on the 11th and 12th seemed irrelevant to his obvious control of the situation – which looked all the more convincing when Hoey bogeyed the par five 14th.
But Sutterfield then dropped two shots in two holes to allow both Davis and Hoey the opportunity to strike back, the American dropping strokes at the 15th and 16th. At the 17th, Hoey made a great up and down to get within one of the lead while Davis crept up the leaderboard as the players approached the 18th.
Winning sometimes requires either brilliance or luck and Sutterfield got that slice of fortune required to win any tournament as Hoey pulled his approach into the water and then Davis missed a 12 foot birdie chance to give Sutterfield three putts for the title.
"At the end of the day it's 18 holes," Davis said, summing up his second-place tie with Hoey. "I got off to a shocking start, bogeying the first and then taking double bogey at the second, so I was out of it already, then I played really well to get back into it at all. I hit the putt at the 18th exactly where I meant to but it just didn't break. It's just the way it goes."
Hoey was equally philosophical, commenting: “It was nice to play golf in Peru and I gave it a run. I had to have a go at the 18th from the rough and well, the shot didn't quite work out. We all played great. Brad got it off to a fantastic start, we kept with him, but finally, he was a just winner. We all had chances and it was a fun afternoon."
Argentina’s Sebastian Fernandez took fourth place on ten under par, with the Paraguayan pair of Carlos Franco and Marco Ruiz in a tie for fifth place alongside Argentina’s Gustavo Rojas on nine under par 279.