Having gone without a win for the best part of six years, England’s Robert Coles now has two in as many months after his thrilling play-off victory over Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts in the Challenge of Ireland presented by Moyvalley.
Coles, who recently captured his second Challenge Tour title in the MOROCCAN CLASSIC by Banque Populaire, eventually saw off Colsaerts on the third extra hole after both men had finished on ten under par at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort in Co. Kildare, Ireland.
The €24,000 winner’s cheque he collected moved the 36 year old to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings, and one victory away from automatic promotion to The European Tour.
Coles said: “It feels absolutely great. It was a tough day out there, because the field was so congested. But I got off to a great start, which certainly helped. I didn’t play very well at all yesterday, so I was determined to put it right today. I knew I had to start fast to get myself back into the tournament, and I did that with two opening birdies.
“That gave me a lot of confidence, and for the rest of the day I putted fantastically – though it helps that the greens are in great condition. Ironically, the worst putt I hit all day was probably on the first play-off hole, which I left short from eight feet. But give credit to Nicolas, because he pushed me all the way. My room-mate Peter Baker also came pretty close. So with players of that quality up there, I knew I’d have to play well.
“I’ve been scoring well all season – I can’t put my finger on why. I’ve got a lot more consistent and I’m mentally tougher now than I was. I worked hard on my game over the winter, particularly on my short game, and it seems to have paid off. There’s no magic answer – it’s just a case of practising, and hoping it pays off. If I can keep this run going, I’ll be a very happy man.”
Colsaerts birdied his final two holes in regulation play to force the play-off, but looked to have let slip his chance of victory after finding the water with his approach shot at the first extra hole.
However, he managed to salvage a par five, and after both men again made par on the second extra hole, they returned to the 18th tee for a third time to try to find a winner.
On this occasion, Coles made a birdie after finding the green with his second shot and safely getting down in two to take his tally of Challenge Tour titles to three.
Coles’ compatriot Peter Baker finished in a tie for third place on nine under par alongside Scotland’s Peter Whiteford.