After an absolutely thrilling final round, that culminated in a tension-fraught sudden-death play-off, Spain’s Francisco Cea defeated England’s Tim Milford at the second extra hole to secure the Credit Suisse Challenge title and the first prize of €22,400 at the Wylihof Golf Club.
This was a fantastic final round with no less than six players battling it out for the title. Cea and Milford, along with England’s Gareth Davies, Denmark’s Mads Vibe-Hastrup, England’s James Heath and Scotsman Jamie McLeary all had opportunities to steal victory throughout the day.
But in the end, it came down to a sudden-death battle between Cea and Milford after both men had posted 72 hole totals of 16 under par 276, with the 32 year old Spaniard prevailing at the second extra hole. It could have all been so different had Milford’s birdie putt on the 72nd hole moved a centimetre to the left, but it was not to be as his ball stayed above ground.
Cea had given the rest of the field a tough task by producing a marvellous final round of eight under par 65 to post the clubhouse lead. Only Milford could match him with a five under 68, meaning the two players went back to the 18th tee to determine a winner.
Milford found the perfect position in the middle of the fairway with his tee shot, while Cea’s ball nestled down in the right hand rough. Milford played his second shot first, pushing his ball into the bunker, where he found an atrocious plugged lie.
Cea then hit a great approach to the green, leaving himself a 25 foot birdie chance as Milford cursed his luck with the plugged lie. But the Englishman soon cleared his head and did well to get to within 12 feet, while Cea’s birdie effort shaved the left edge of the hole.
The pressure was now on Milford to hole out for par and he responded well with a great putt that never looked like missing. Cea tapped in to prolong the play-off made their way back to the 18th.
With nerves shaking, both players landed their tee shots in the right hand rough. Milford was first to play again, and he found the same greenside bunker again with his second, while Cea knocked his ball on the green to 35 feet. Milford splashed out to eight feet to leave another testing par putt before Cea left his birdie effort just inches short.
The pressure was back on Milford to hole out for par, but this time the Englishman could not hole out, leaving Cea to start his celebrations on the 18th green.
“I am very happy,” said Cea, who won on the Challenge Tour ten years ago at the Open Dijon Bourgogne. “My last win was ten years ago so this feels very good for me. I played well in the final round, and then I managed to keep my mind blank during the play-off, and did not feel too nervous.”
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